Easter is the season of resurrection – new life. On Easter day we celebrate Jesus being raised to new life and the promise that we too can enjoy this new, eternal life. But the wonderful news is that Jesus offers us this new abundant life, a life filled with the life and energy of his Spirit, here and now.
All around us there are signs of new life – lambs in the fields; buds and blossom on the trees, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and other spring flowers bursting out of the earth. The daylight hours are lengthening and the birds are beginning to awaken us with their dawn chorus. This really is the time of year I love best – when I begin to feel re-energised and ready for new opportunities.
It will soon be a year since my retirement – and I’m beginning to understand why it might be more accurate to call it “Re-tyre-ment”! Though I’m still taking services in the Benefice and wider Deanery, I no longer have the same parish and deanery responsibilities. This has given me time and space to re-focus; to try to discover God’s plan for my future and I’m beginning to recognise this time as a gift. I’ve had more time to enjoy God’s creation thanks to the kind gift of National Trust membership. I’ve returned to being a volunteer Prison Chaplain, which I find a great privilege. Retirement may bring one phase of life to an end, but it can also be a time of new beginnings. Before I ever thought of being a Vicar, I trained on a Diocesan Spirituality Course to be a prayer guide. I helped to lead Quiet days and Retreats, but I soon became busy with other commitments. Now, it seems that God is giving me the opportunity to bring to life those seeds that have lain dormant within me. In May, I shall begin a year-long course in “The Art of Spiritual Direction” which will then enable me to accompany others on their faith journeys. I’m excited at the prospect of becoming a “student” again - and at sharing in this with Linda Pitcher, who has also been accepted on the course.
Christian discipleship is a life-long journey – one from which we can never retire. Jesus promises that his Spirt will always be within those who put their trust in him – breathing into us new life, teaching us and guiding us in his ways. Jesus assures us “I have come that they may have new life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10. In this Easter season may we each rejoice in the new life Christ offers and, whatever our age, may we be open to the opportunities of “Re-tyre- ment” .
Easter blessings, Vicar Chris