Letter from Jon, April 2021
Dear Liberty Family
May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit
I write this letter in the middle of ‘Holy Week’, as we journey towards the celebration of Easter Sunday. I don’t suppose that any of us expected that when we celebrated Easter last year under lockdown, that a year later we would still be facing restrictions (I guess there is a lot in life which it is better not to know about in advance!). At least this year we come to Easter with more hope. We will be able to gather in person on Good Friday and on Easter Sunday to worship, albeit with the necessary restrictions in place.
In order to arrive at the celebration of Easter Sunday, however, we have to journey through Maundy Thursday with the last supper and the mental torment of Jesus in Gethsemane, Good Friday and the unimaginable pain of the cross, Holy Saturday and the numbing silence, fear and grief, before arriving at Sunday’s empty tomb and the risen Christ. Easter is always a time of mixed emotions, a tension between sorrow and celebration.
This year, more than ever, I have been aware of this tension as it relates to the Liberty family. As lockdown eases there is a growing sense of optimism with the hope of meeting together again, of some new normality returning to our lives, of greater freedom, perhaps being able to hug and even to sing together. These things are worthy of celebration. At the same time there are those within the Liberty family for whom life will never be the same, who have endured and are enduring immense pain and loss. I have always been aware that when we gather on Sundays to worship, that the whole spectrum of life’s circumstances; joys and sorrows, celebration and pain, are represented amongst us. I believe that Easter is a reminder to us that our God who became one of us, who humbled himself to death on a cross and who rose victorious over the grave, meets us in every situatoin of life. He celebrates with us and he suffers with us. He knows and enters into our joy and our pain.
My prayer for each of us is that whatever we are going through this Easter, whatever our circumstances, whatever our mental and physical state, we would know the joy and peace of God, and that we would be those who overflow with hope knowing that the God of hope endured our pain and defeated the powers of sin and death at the cross. Christ is risen – and that changes everything.