The Hope Bringer

I really do love Easter. It’s one of my favourite times of the year. Growing up, I often used to go to the Sunrise Service at the top of Shirley Hills in Surrey with my family. It was such a special time and I look back now on the significance of arriving in the dark and watching the sun come up, bringing light with it. Worshiping Jesus on Easter Sunday I’ve always found highly emotional. In more recent years, I’ve celebrated Easter Sunday on the beach in Minehead at Spring Harvest. Worshiping with hundreds of Christians early morning and looking towards the cross always reminds me of His sacrificial love freely given.

The cross is such a powerful image. A friend of mine often talks about laying our burdens at the cross of Jesus and putting them at His feet. I’m trying so hard to do this on a daily basis, knowing that He will help deal with my mess and weariness. I love to sing and worship as a way of coming into the presence of Jesus and there is a song that we sing sometimes, with a verse that says: ‘I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene. And wonder how he could love me, a sinner condemned, unclean…’ I don’t think I will ever stop wondering about Jesus’ love for me and when I meet Him (and one day I will!) I will ask Him to explain again why He did what He did on the cross for me and why, oh why He loves me that much.

I know I’m loved for who I am and Easter is a reminder of how much we are all loved – so much so that Jesus laid down his life in one of the most physically painful, gruesome ways. As we approach Easter, many of us will have given up things for Lent. In our family, we are just entering into the flurry of celebrations and birthdays including mine, my husband, my mum, my son and my sister in law! Giving up treats in whatever form is near on impossible for me during this season, so instead I try to focus my efforts on seeking God and where He might be leading me.

Talking about Easter – particularly with children – is quite difficult and often hard to comprehend. The thing I love the most, however, is being able to share the story of Easter Sunday when our Lord rose again bringing hope and joy. This is such an important message for our world today. It doesn’t mean that life will always be great or that we won’t struggle anymore, but it does mean that we are assured of a life spent in eternity with our Heavenly Father, if we choose to accept his offer. Jesus IS a bringer of Hope. Isaiah 40:31 says: ‘but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

For those who say that Easter is not just about chocolate, they’re right. It is about so much more. Still… over indulging on Easter Sunday does feel just a little bit naughty and is normally worth the wait. I love chocolate, but the hardest bit for me is making it clear to my mum that chocolate orange really is the way to go!

Michelle Rutter, Riverbank CEO