I will begin my celebration of
Easter crouched around a fire in the gardens outside Chelmsford Cathedral
trying to light a large candle from its flames. When the candle is lit I will
hold it aloft, process into the darkened church, and proclaim the ancient
Easter proclamation that Christ is the light in the darkness. In the New Testament all the really important
things seem to happen in the dark.
Jesus is born in the
night. When Judas betrays him and he is
arrested, night has fallen. When he dies on the cross there is darkness over
the land. And when Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb on Easter morning we are
told it is still dark. This is no
coincidence. The death and resurrection of Jesus is best understood as a cosmic
victory over the powers of evil, death and darkness. Speaking of the coming of Christ, Isaiah says
that the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. When Jesus is
born, Simeon says he is the light for all people.
That’s why Christians all over
the world celebrate Easter in the night by kindling a fire and lighting a
candle and proclaiming Jesus as the light of the world. This is also why
Christian people today find hope – light in their own personal darkness –
through Jesus Christ. We do not find God absent or indifferent to our
sufferings. We find he is there with us.
Christ is, therefore, not the light at the end of a dark tunnel, but the
light to see by, “a lamp to our feet and a light to our path,” a candle to hold
in the darkness.
The Risen Christ is also light
for the world. As I write this I don’t know what is going to happen with our
Brexit negotiations, however there is every possibility we might still be in
the dark. The way of Christ can shed light on this as well, showing us the
values and principles we must hold onto even if the path ahead is not clear.