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An Easter message from the club chaplain

There is something very special about Easter.

It signals the time when nature springs into life. Gardeners get their tools out of the shed and prepare the ground for their summer plants. Children look forward to receiving far too many Easter eggs than is good for them. It’s a time for family and friends to get together. For football lovers like us there is usually at least one match to attend at Ashton Gate. Happy days!

Sadly, the current situation we find ourselves in has placed limits on some of those activities. Just now there is one subject that is uppermost in our minds – that of keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe. I don’t apologise for underlining again how much we owe to front line services who are helping us to do that. I hope that this army of workers, who don’t have the option to stay home and stay safe, are in your prayers. Easter 2020 will not be like any other Easter we have experienced.

But there is one thing that hasn’t changed – the Easter story. We should acknowledge that we only have the Easter season in our diaries because of something stupendous that happened in the Middle East more than 2,000 years ago. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ – the Son of God who became a man. At Easter we celebrate the death and raising to life of that same young man.

In one sense it is strange that we call it Good Friday because a superficial glance at the story would suggest that what happened on that day was anything but good. A trumped-up charge which saw the best person who ever lived killed by means of the cruellest method of execution ever devised by man – Roman crucifixion. Maybe for some of us that would appear to be the end of the story. But the Easter story doesn’t end with his death. Three days later God raised his Son to new life.

Some of us remember Kenneth Wolstenholme’s commentary when England clinched that World Cup win against West Germany in 1966. At 3-2 in England’s favour he is distracted by some fans spilling on to the pitch and he remarks ‘They think it’s all over’ but then when Geoff Hurst scores the fourth goal – he adds ‘It is now.’

Those who put Jesus on that cross thought it was all over but following his resurrection we can say ‘It is now.’ Jesus Christ had accomplished his purpose in coming into the world. And from that weekend has sprung the Christian message of forgiveness and the hope of heaven which has provided new life and purpose to its billions of followers throughout its two-thousand-year history.

So, In spite of our present circumstances may you experience the bright, joyful blessings God has to offer you during this Easter holiday.

Derek Cleave