On the evening before Easter, 45 people of all ages and backgrounds will gather with me and hundreds of their family and friends in Suffolk’s Cathedral at Bury St Edmunds to be Confirmed in their faith and start a new life.
As the sun sets we will light a great candle, the sign of a dead man living, of Jesus Christ who really died publicly and in great agony on a Cross on the first Good Friday, and equally publicly rose to a new sort of life with great joy on the first Easter Day, a life he shares with us when we put our trust in him.
This is not airy-fairy, make-believe stuff. The historical evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is as good as it gets. That risen life was as real as your breakfast (he ate one too!) and the only thing that stops us analysing it scientifically is that we aren’t there to do it.
This really matters. We are consuming ourselves and our world to death. We are locked into a system which sees the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. We are living the wrong way up.
This Easter, will you join those Easter candidates, will you join me, will you join Jesus, in saying yes to turning the world the right way up again? Will you follow his example and ask his help to put giving not getting at the heart of your life, to live for others not yourself?
We take Jesus for-granted. Far too much. Great minds like C S Lewis were turned round by his teaching. Great writers like Tolkein found their inspiration in his story. Great campaigners like Wilberforce found the strength to change society through faith in him.
Here in Suffolk, now, ordinary people are doing extraordinary things in the strength Jesus gives to run foodbanks and nightshelters, launching charities and ethical businesses, serving in caring professions and public life, just being good neighbours down their street.
Join the movement. Live the light. Be the Easter people of today.