The minister writes… from our April 2024 newsletter

Dear friends,

I realise this will be appearing in the April newsletter which means that officially we will just have celebrated Easter as it is earlier this year, coming as it does at the very end of March. However, the Easter season is more than just Easter Day, and we continue to celebrate the good news of Christ’s resurrection long after the Easter eggs have been consumed and the last Easter hymn sung.

As I’m sure you are aware, the liturgical year follows certain seasons. We always start with the first Sunday in Advent, then comes Christmas Day and the season of Christmas which is quickly succeeded by the Feast of Epiphany on 6th January. Depending on church tradition, the season of Epiphany can either been seen as continuing until the day before Ash Wednesday or being replaced by Ordinary Time but either way Lent is the next season. Lent takes us through to Easter and the Easter season continues to Pentecost, then Trinity Sunday and then Ordinary Time reasserts itself and takes us all the way to Advent once again.

There are colours associated with each of these periods too. I won’t go into the meaning of them here except to say that I think it is particularly significant that Holy Week should, for the most part, be marked by red as a reminder of the shed blood of Christ, and Easter by white and gold. White represents purity, holiness and grace, and gold denotes the triumph of resurrection over sin and death.

I do find the division of the liturgical year and the symbolism of the related colours interesting, but they are not something that we focus on deeply in the Methodist tradition. And I think it is right that this is so because, in one sense, as Christians, we are always living in the Easter season. Even when we celebrate Jesus’ birth, we do so knowing that he doesn’t stay a baby in the manger. We know about his ministry, his teaching, the miracles he performed, the acceptance he showed to the outcast and the stranger, the friends he chose (including Judas), the love he demonstrated throughout his life and most especially his loving embrace for all humanity stretched out on the cross.

We even know that the cross itself is NOT the end. In fact, we celebrate an empty cross because Jesus is no longer dead but risen. And it is right that we should do so.

Yet there is a danger. We can come too quickly to Easter Sunday morning. We can career from Palm Sunday to Easter Day with barely a pause to remember all of what happened during Holy Week. We can make of Easter something too light, too easily come by, too temporary. We forget the cost of crucifixion and sin and grief, and in doing so we lose something of the joy and the wonder at the rolled-away stone and the empty tomb.

I hope that this Easter you will have rediscovered that amazement, that awe. And I pray that as you journey in faith with the risen Jesus, the message of Easter will shape all of your living: your thoughts, your words and your actions far beyond Easter Day itself. For you – we – are Easter people. Alleluia!

With every blessing at Easter and always,


And we are Easter people, risen with Christ;
Easter people, alive in him:

Easter people, dancing, singing, praises
bringing to our risen Saviour, Lord and King.

Brian Hoare (b. 1935)
© Brian Hoare/Jubilate Hymns Ltd