St. Peter’s Parish Church

Tilton on the Hill - Leicestershire


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Peace in our time?

My sermon this Easter Sunday remembered that first Easter Day:

‘On that morning, many years ago, the tomb was open, and death was broken. Re-creation burst out like water from a geyser, like a new baby being pushed into the world. And nothing could hold Him. Easter Day is the day when the world was invaded with resurrection life.  And now we live in a world where the life revolution has begun, God’s vitality is filling this place and all places, love is pushing out hate and light is shining out…’ 

As I woke up just after dawn on Easter Sunday, God’s vitality seemed so apparent. I glanced out of my bedroom window and caught sight of the very large old tree in our neighbour’s garden. The skeletal form of the leafless branches had appeared lifeless throughout the winter. However, as the golden sun rose, the morning light picked out the newly formed copper coloured leaves that had burst forth over night. The whole tree seemed ablaze. This reminded me of Moses’s burning bush and the awesome presence of God, a vision I wanted to hold onto as long as I could. As the sun rose higher in the sky, that awesome moment passed quickly, but seemed a sign pointing to the significance of Easter Day: ‘Easter day is the day when the world was invaded with resurrection life … And now we live in a world where the life revolution has begun.’

And yet, as I drove away from my first early morning church service, I heard the news of the killings at Christian churches in Sri Lanka.  Death and despair on a day noted for its celebration of new life. Later it was confirmed that this had been an attack by an Islamist extremist group in revenge for shootings at the mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. There are so many unfortunate ironies: ‘Christ’s Church’ should be a place and people of peace. Just as thousands of Muslims declared in the city of Jhang, Pakistan, as they all stood forming the human image of the Christchurch Mosque along with the words ‘Islam is Peace’. 

Forgiveness leading to God’s peace is central to the message of Jesus Christ. Peace for all and all working together for peace. This is the message of hope we must not lose sight of. Reflecting on the words I read on Easter morning which seem questionable in the light of the destructive violence of extremists: ‘love is pushing out hate and light is shining out’; there is far more good in our world than our national and international news portrays. I pray that God will guide us to work together - people of all faiths and no faith - to seek out this good, create this good, and spread the message of love, hope and peace where we live.