An Easter Message from our President

One of the oldest hymns in the hymnbook that we use in the Methodist Church is an Easter hymn that begins:

The day of resurrection, earth, tell it out abroad!
The passover of gladness, the passover of God!

This hymn originated in the eastern part of the Christian church during the Eighth Century. In that tradition, a cross would be ‘buried’ on Good Friday and ‘resurrected’ on Easter morning. Then, according to one account I found, everywhere people would clasp each other’s hands, congratulate one another, and embrace with faces “beaming with delight”. Imagine that: clasping hands, embracing, seeing faces beaming.

This Easter we can do none of those things.

It’s been over a year since we could safely clasp hands with someone not in our ‘bubble’, much less embrace. We can’t even see each other’s faces unless we’re on a Zoom call or are passing by in the open air, two metres apart.
Good Friday, when we consider and meditate on the crucifixion of Jesus, is a time to contemplate death, suffering, and sacrifice – things we now often put out of our minds. For so much of our recent history, death has seemed alien, while suffering has meant a bad cold, and sacrifice meant giving up golf to take the children to the cinema. Covid-19 has changed all this.

We see the suffering of those on ventilators or with a cough that will not stop. We see the sacrifice of healthcare workers who have risked so much to work in Covid wards. And we feel surrounded by death – so much death that we almost become numb to it, as we see the numbers continually rising on the right of our television screens.

But Easter reminds us that suffering and death are not the end, and that the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross leads to resurrection, not just for Jesus, but for all who trust in him.

The hymn continues:

From death to life eternal, from earth unto the sky,
Our Christ has brought us over with hymns of victory.

Rev. Dr. Thomas McKnight
President of the Methodist Church in Ireland

Issued by: Rev. Roy Cooper
Press Officer, The Methodist Church in Ireland.

Tel: 07710945104