April Showers and New Life

The month of April is often associated with lots of rain or should I say showers. The Lent themes of mercy and forgiveness still run through this Eastertide.  However, Easter although celebrated on the last day in March, is also celebrated for fifty days until Pentecost (Sunday 19th May). One of the key themes of Easter is new and abundant life. It is no coincidence that Easter and Spring go hand in hand. As we watch Spring bring new life and new growth, I marvel at its delicacy and intricacy. There is also a real freshness to the new greens that we see all around us. I am always aware of how fast things grow at this point, they appear to almost grow as we watch. What lies behind this new life are the key ingredients of light, warmth, water and nutrients. It feels like the winter stores up goodness waiting for spring to unleash it with brighter warmer days.

Like nature around us, Spring puts new life and new hope within us. We look forward to starting up things that the winter curtails, we often have fresh resolve to tackle a new project. The lighter evenings allow us time to be outside later in the day. We feel a little like being roused from our winter hibernation. 

This Eastertide has the same theme of a new and abundant life. One of the key messages is that Jesus goes looking for his disciples after the resurrection. His disciples had been scattered and were afraid for their lives. Some of them had denied any knowledge of Jesus and some were on their way home, they had had enough. They were by any measure failures and had let their friend Jesus down badly. Surely in modern terms, Jesus’ first task would be to gather a new group of followers who were up to the task and were not like those other failures. But Jesus does something quite remarkable, he meets and walks alongside his disciples in their failures and draws them from despair to hope. He transforms their sadness into joy and excitement. He demonstrates practically two key themes of Easter, forgiveness and transformation. We are told that if we want to know what God is like, look at Jesus’ life. After the resurrection, Jesus becomes the shepherd in the parable of the lost sheep. For Jesus it was not just about finding his lost disciples, it was about turning them around and focusing them on what God wanted to do with them, to take his message to the world.

We are not just found by God and then we wait around for heaven. God has a purpose for us, to share his love with the people we know and meet. Surely our world still needs transformation?