- Westcliff Baptist Church
- 560 London Road
- Westcliff on Sea
- SS0 9HS
News & Views
We live in a visual age. That is undoubtedly true. Yet words still retain an immense power. How do I know that? In many contexts, I only need to whisper one six letter word beginning with “C” and it unleashes a maelstrom of reactions – apprehension, anxiety, stubborn resistance – to name a few. The word, of course is ‘change’. Human beings have an innate aversion to it. We like the familiar. We don’t enjoy being pushed out of our comfort zones. We know we can cope with the routine.
This time of year is a season of change. With each sunrise, the hours of daylight increase. The thermometer (usually) begins to climb a little. In gardens and woods the drab browns of last year’s decaying leaves are replaced with a carpet of colour as snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils emerge from their winter slumber. Spring is in the air. It hints that not all change is bad.
It is not only change in the environment; even the most resisted change – change in us – can be good.
Consider a man overcome with a dreadful sense of failure. He should have stood by a friend in need. He promised he would, but when it came to it, he bottled out. For him, failure changed into a new opportunity, the chance to get it right.
Or consider a woman overcome with grief. She had found someone worthy of her love. Someone, who was utterly faithful, compassionate and genuine, but his life was cruelly cut short, plunging her into despair. For her, sorrow changed into exuberant joy.
What brought about these wonderful changes? An even more astonishing change – someone who was dead – thoroughly and undeniably deceased – came back to life. Jesus had been whipped, beaten and abused – hung on a cross to die in agony. It was a public event, witnessed by huge crowds and yet the nails, the tomb could not hold him. He reclaimed his life, changing apparent defeat into glorious victory, deepest despair into brightest hope, chilling sorrow into fervent joy and the darkness of death itself into the light of life.
Easter is the greatest change event of all history. Yet it is not simply a thing of the past. Today the risen Christ continues to bring revolutionary change to the lives of those who accept the gift of Easter. As he hung, dying, Jesus spoke the most powerful words of change, even to those whose hatred had propelled him to the cross, “Father, forgive them”. He speaks those same words to us; words that can change our guilt, our failure, our regrets, our sorrow into the most liberating, joyous LIFE.
This Easter, let’s re-evaluate “change” – not the gimmicks, fashion and novelty pedalled by society, but the wonderful change of our heart that God alone can accomplish. Let’s change the habits of a lifetime and not simply murmur our assent and forget, but let’s embrace the astounding change of Easter.