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The story of Jesus shows us death is not the end and that when we suffer we are not alone

A PORTUGUESE man o’ war, moon jellyfish, albino muntjac deer, big cat and a python are some of the unusual creatures spotted in the south of England during the past year.

Even a camel was seen walking down a London street, holding up traffic and morning commuters.

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For Christians, what happened on that first Easter Day, Jesus rising from the dead, is an extraordinary truth, says the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell[/caption]

When things are not as we expect them, it can take us by surprise.

So I wonder what last took you by surprise? How did it make you feel?

Did you love it or loathe it? Or perhaps it just left you a little bit uncertain.

I hope it won’t surprise you if an Archbishop says a wide range of emotions can be found in the Easter story.

Watching Jesus be viciously and cruelly put to death on Good Friday must have made his family and friends angry, hurt and hugely distressed.

But this turns to something very different as they discover on Easter morning that he is risen from the dead.

As this event unfolds, their surprise and joy is overwhelming.

(If you want to read about it, Google John chapter 20, one of my favourite chapters in the Bible).

It’s quite the story and one so surprising it can often leave us, like some of Jesus’s first followers, wondering, perplexed or with plenty of questions.

The story of Jesus shows us that God is a God with a human face, a God with a human heart, a God who shares not only in the joys of life, but also the sadness and the suffering and death itself.


Good Friday shows us who God is.

It shows us that death is not the end.

It shows us that when we suffer, when we die, we find that we are not alone.

So Good Friday is both the most terrible day and yet the most wonderful.

Because it is the day we come to know the God we see in Jesus even shares our suffering and dying.

For Christians, what happened on that first Easter Day, Jesus rising from the dead, is an extraordinary truth.

It changes, quite literally, the world. Nothing is the same again.

How do we know it is true?

When we suffer, we are never alone

Well, the classic answer is we know it by faith and by our own experience of God, which can be difficult to grasp and a leap too far for many.

But we also see its truth in the way followers of Jesus want to change the world.

In the way Christians run food banks and toddler groups, advice services and bereavement care.

In the way we try to love our neighbour, whoever that is, or argue for the way the world should work with a particular emphasis on care for the elderly, the poor and those who have no home.

And we see it in the freedom and joy of our praying and worshipping.

But like so many things in life, from learning to swim to eating a jellied eel for the first time, the only way you really find out is by having a go.

The truth of the Easter faith is found in receiving and living out this faith.

I do invite you to give it a try.

You may just be surprised.

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