One of the Bible readings suggested for the Sunday after Easter is part of Peter's first letter to the early church which includes these words:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead... (1 Peter 1:3-9)
Further on in the same letter, he writes:
"... in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you;" (1 Peter 3:15)
It seems to me that Peter is setting out how he envisages the early church should respond to the resurrection of Jesus and how that will play out in the years to come: it is to be something share with others, an experience that will bring hope. An experience that so many of us are still searching for today as we watch the global news unfolding or read the latest examples of humanity's dehumanising actions towards members of the same human race.
The Easter experience remains a lifelong one. It is an account of re-appearance, re-acquainting and re-affirming, as experienced by Mary and the women who came to the tomb early in the morning; by Thomas who was not to be fobbed off with a second-hand experience of the risen Christ by the other disciples and by Peter who, despite his numerous denials of his links with Jesus, was still entrusted with the pastoral care of the early church.
The experience of joy, encouragement and forgiveness which was shared on that first Easter Day remains accessible to all who still seek it today. It offers a different way of looking at the world; of building up rather than belittling; of love rather than hate. It is a way of living and loving that offers each of us a new start, not just once, but each and every day of our lives...
In hope and peace,