Easter reflection "The best day"
"Contemporary Prayers for Public Worship" contains a prayer for use on Easter Day "(Especially when children are present)", with words that I have gone back to time and again:
This is the best day of the whole year -
the best day of all time.
The best day...Not because it is the nice ending to a story that seemed to have ended in tragedy, but because it marks the beginning of a new era for humanity. For on Easter Day we find that Jesus, who was dead, is alive again...And that marks the beginning of our own personal story.
The resurrection of Jesus shows the power and love of God to bring life out of death, light out of darkness, goodness out of evil, hope out of despair. It's the rock on which the faith of the Church is built, the foundation of our own Christian experience, the goal towards which our lives move because it is the promise that those also who put their trust in him shall not be swept away by death, but shall have eternal life. It is the pivot on which the history of the world turns, and so the best day of all time.
It didn't seem like that to begin with. The friends and followers of Jesus had seem him cruelly executed on a Roman cross three days earlier. Now they were fearful and dispirited. Their convictions had died. Their hopes were lost. "We had hoped that he would be the one who was going to set Israel free." But their experience of encountering the risen Christ brought life, courage, nerve, joy, hope, and the burning desire to tell others. "Jesus is the one of whom the scripture says, 'The stone that the builders despised turned out to be the most important stone of all.' Salvation is to be found through him alone; in all the world there is no one else whom God has given who can save us."
So, on this day of light and gladness, we pray, help us to put darkness out of our lives. Make us willing and able to change our old ways of thinking and speaking and doing into Easter ways: so that how we behave may bear out what we believe, and so that Christ's new creation may become in us not just a hope but a fact.
On this best day of the whole year, and every day, we proclaim,
The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Words in italics from "Contemporary Prayers for Public Worship" p.124, ed. Caryl Micklem, SCM Press, 1967.
Revd Mike Playdon