Easter is once more with us and is widely associated with Easter Egg hunts, fluffy chicks, gardens beginning to flourish with abundant colour and, for many, celebration of our new life in the resurrected Jesus.
This new life can be described as a new beginning or being born again, and this is an appropriate time to check this out. To help, I am calling in a couple of historic characters and one of the UK’s biggest grime artists.
Going back some 2000 years ago, Jesus was making quite a hit speaking to large crowds, healing the sick and sending them away with new hope. This activity did not go un-noticed and our first character, Nicodemus, enters the scene in a very odd way. This top religious leader was a Pharisee whose job was to effectively enforce and interpret the Ten Commandments so that the people tried hard to live life as best as they can to try and please God. He went to meet with Jesus at night.
Nicodemus was clearly in awe of Jesus, calling him a great teacher from God, able to perform miracles. Jesus responded, “The truth is that no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
Nicodemus could not understand this – suggesting a physical rebirth. Jesus explained that Nicodemus, and indeed the people of the world, could only be part of the kingdom ruled by God by repenting and receiving spiritual rebirth which comes from God above. So, a new beginning with a promise of eternal life happens with this gift of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus goes on to state to us (John 3, v16), which really is the focus of the entire gospel, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Nicodemus takes this on board and is clearly a changed man.
Next, we fast forward to the fourteenth century in Norwich. Julian of Norwich was an English Christian mystic, recluse and theologian. She was also known as a spiritual authority locally, serving as a counsellor and advisor writing the first book in the English language known to have been written by a woman.
She was healed of a serious illness after experiencing a series of visions of Christ’s suffering and of the Blessed Virgin, about which she wrote Revelations of Divine Love which profoundly affected her and has encouraged readers across the globe over the centuries. She wrote, “Where do we begin? Begin with the heart. Until I am essentially united with God, I can never have full rest or real happiness.”
Now we bring in the Brit Awards 2018, with British male solo artist winner Stormzy. He is famous for wearing his heart on his sleeve and supporting some high-profile campaigns. A recent song of his includes the lyrics, “Although I’m not worthy, you fixed me: I’m blinded by your grace. You came and saved me.”
These three characters have clearly been affected by the love of God who brings change and new beginnings. Happy Easter.
The image above is courtesy of www.pixabay.com
Kevin Gotts is a South Norfolk photographer, small business owner and local Filling Station team member.
The thoughts expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of ‘Network Suffolk’.
This article originally appeared in Network Norwich & Norfolk.