Easter is a time of great joy. It is a time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, and to reflect on the amazing love that God has shown us through his sacrifice on the Cross. Joy is a central theme of Easter and also focuses us to be artisans of hope in our world today.
The Bible tells us in Psalm 30:5 that "Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning." This verse reminds us that even in our darkest moments, we can find joy in the knowledge that God is with us and that he has a plan for our lives.
Janet Erskine Stuart wrote about sorrow and joy:
The sources of joy are deeper than the sources of sorrow. The sources of sorrow are temporal and in ourselves; the sources of joy are eternal and are in God. The joy follows the sorrow… as the flower breaks from the thorny branch.
Also one of her most famous quotes relates to joy:
To be a joy bearer and a joy giver says everything; it means that one is faithfully living for God and that nothing else counts, and if one gives joy to others we are doing God’s work. With joy without and within, all is well. I can conceive no higher way. Joy is the most heavenly atmosphere found on earth - we ought to cultivate it as a duty always.
This quote challenges us to not only experience the joy of Easter, but to try to be a joy bearer and giver in our daily lives. Let us embody the hope and joy of Easter in our words and actions to those around us and reach out to those who are hurting, lonely or lost.
Invitation to pray
A prayer of thanksgiving for Easter (adapted from Fire and Bread – Ruth Burgess)
We bring you our praise and our thanks,
You take the pain of our Good Friday,
the watching of suffering and waiting for death,
and transform our helpfulness
into the fragile beginnings of hope
you take out the grieving of Easter Sunday morning,
the fearful approach to the tomb,
and transform our bewilderment
into the breathless excitement of new life.
Ann Gregory (Network Goals Co-ordinator ENW)