AN EASTER MESSAGE FROM THE VICAR

Easter is a historical narrative that invites every person to find a home in.
Sadly I come across people who think that Jesus was a mythical figure.
How far from the truth this is. If we ever had a time machine we would see
that Jesus walked this earth, healed the sick, challenged the status quo
and reminded us that love of God and one another was key to life, key to
the Kingdom of God. Jesus has changed many lives throughout history
and is still changing lives.

Here is a dramatised version of the Easter events:- Peter and the Resurrection by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

Profound sadness coupled with terror wrapped Peter’s stomach and clenched it into tight, painful knot.
Yes, Jesus had told his disciples that he would be killed, even that he would be crucified. But Peter
hadn’t believed it. When you see daily miracles and hear incisive teaching from a confident public figure,
you refuse to acknowledge that anything could ever change. But overnight, Peter’s world collapsed.
They had eaten Passover together on Thursday night. But only few hours later, Jesus was under arrest.
A hasty trial lit by flickering lamps in the high priest’s palace condemned Jesus. Then early-morning
shuttles to Pilate, then Herod, then back again to Pilate sealed his fate. By 9 am soldiers were pounding
nails into his hands and feet, jerking him upright on a cross to let him hang in the sun — until the sun
itself hid its face and left the onlookers to watch the Master die in the eerie chill of this very black day.
Peter had fled. In fact, none of the Twelve remained to see him buried. Only Mary Magdalene and a
couple of wealthy followers were left to take his body down, carry it outside the city, and entomb it. If
you’ve ever felt despair at the pit of your stomach, then you know what Peter felt. When he did go out,
he would walk in a kind of daze, utterly disoriented, shattered, the centre of his world now a black hole,
an empty void. How could the Messiah, the heir of David’s throne, be executed? It went against all logic.
It was impossible — yet it had happened, and oh so swiftly! Peter slept fitfully Saturday night and when
his eyes opened Sunday morning, the doom of death was heavy upon him. He pulled his cloak over his
eyes, hoping he could fall back to sleep, but knowing he wouldn’t. All of a sudden someone was banging
on the door. Soldiers! Peter got up with a start. How can I escape? Then he heard Mary Magdalene’s
voice, and his terror fell back into depression. Mary was breathless, troubled, her face stained with
tears. Peter grumbled, “Why did you have to wake me so early?” Mary blurted out: “They have taken the
Lord out of the tomb!” Peter pulled his fellow-disciple John to his feet, slammed the door behind them,
and began to run through the narrow streets, out the city gate, and then on to the tomb. The great
stone that had sealed the tomb stood open. As they entered, the sepulchre was empty, except for some
folded grave clothes. The body was gone. Folded? That was strange. Folded grave clothes but no body.
Hardly what you’d expect from grave robbers. John seemed convinced by the grave clothes that
somehow Jesus had been resurrected or something, but Peter wasn’t so sure. How could he believe that
after so much had happened? He walked slowly back towards the city pondering, thinking, wanting to
believe, but afraid to hope. Suddenly, Jesus appeared. Peter, the so-called “rock,” had publically
betrayed him. He had shouted, “I don’t know the man!” He was so unworthy. And yet here was Jesus
before him. Peter fell to his knees and wept for joy. Peter never said much to the others about this
meeting — what had been said, what had transpired. But after that you’d sometimes see Peter deep in
thought, pensive. Then he would nod his head and traces of a smile would begin to transform his face
into one written with thankfulness and joy and peace. Peter had been whipsawed from his pit of despair
and pulled by the Master into peace. Life had changed for the good. And since then many have found
this same peace, this same smile of wonder at Jesus’ amazing grace. Maybe you too. Jesus had risen —
and Peter never doubted him again. Why should we?
Reverend Heather Atkinson
St James Vicarage
14 Albion Street
New Brighton CH45 9LF Tele: 0151 639 5844

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