Pastoral Letter – Easter Message 2021
What a year it has been! Last year, we were not able to celebrate Easter together as physically gathered congregations. We did have “virtual” or “electronic” services for each of the days of Holy Week and for Easter Eve and Easter Day. This year, God-willing, we will be physically gathering for Holy Week and Easter. I think it is especially important that we come together to share our sorrows, grieve, remember, and celebrate with the Lord. It is important to give thanksgiving. The pandemic is not over yet and there remain risks, but there is much for which to give thanks. Despite so much loss in so many places, and many financial and personal losses, Nova Scotia and our part of it have been spared much of this in terms of loss of life. In the province and throughout the country so many people took risks and sacrificed to help others. We are indebted to all frontline workers who continued to make our society work. We are indebted to those who cared for the sick. We are indebted to those who sought to lift our spirits and we are indebted to those who sought to encourage our faith.
The spring, like Easter, brings hope of renewal. Extensive vaccination programs are underway. We are grateful to the researchers and scientists who worked on these vaccines and the investments of the manufacturing companies and government. God-willing we are entering a period when we will be more conscious of healing than suffering, loss and death.
Easter above all brings home the themes of suffering, death, rebirth, renewal, restoration and transformation. The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus form the very heart of our faith. Jesus’ cross is about a healing of mind and spirit and a restoration and transformation of the whole human person. St. Paul speaks of this in 1 Corinthians 15 (and in other texts). It is a healing that includes and goes well beyond the ailments of the body. It is about reconciliation with God. It is about forgiveness of our sins. It is about the recreation of humanity as we were meant to be, in the image and likeness of God and in harmony with God’s will and the whole creation. Jesus came to bring life and life in greater abundance than we can ask or imagine. Jesus came to bring healing and reconciliation. He came not just in history but to us to heal our hearts and minds in the present moment. In John 3:14-16, we hear Jesus say: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.”
Forgiveness and fullness of life are what Good Friday and Easter are all about. Please enter into the mystery of our Lord’s passion and resurrection and join your church family for the services of Holy Week and Easter Day.
Yours in Crucified and Resurrected Jesus,
The Rev’d Dr. Brian J. Spence – Rector