Arsene Wenger once said that “Christmas is significant, Easter is decisive.”

He was talking about winning the Premiership rather than, you know, Jesus, but it’s also true for the Church.

Christmas is so very significant. Amongst everything else, it’s about frail, messy humanity, and how God chose to clothe himself in our small clumsiness to show His enormous love. It’s about how willing God was to take a risk on us.  It’s about how much God cares about the losers. It’s about how the God who asks us to trust us, entrusted us with His only Son. It’s the moment when God came to be with us.

Easter, however, is decisive. Christmas might have started the chain of events, and all of the years unfolding afterwards brought new pages to the story, but the death and resurrection of Jesus changes everything, and not even removing ‘Easter‘ from the title of an egg-hunt can change that fact. Not even that.

Easter is the story of Jesus. The story of His teaching, His power, His friendships, His extraordinary ordinariness. It’s the story of His death, killed as if He was a common criminal when He done nothing wrong. It’s the story of His great love, taking the punishment for every crime, every sin, every mistake. And it’s the story of how His words were proved to be true: He wasn’t beaten and He didn’t stay dead (spoiler alert…).

But Easter isn’t just the story of Jesus. It’s our story. The same power that rolled the stone away, the same power that breaks chains and shakes prisons, that finds impossible paths and creates unbelievable creations, that wakes the dead and breaks decade-long cycles and shapes hope out of nothing? That power? It’s available to us. Today. And we don’t actually have to wait for Easter Sunday, or for Ascension Day, or Pentecost, or any other particular time.

Jesus stands in the open tomb today, and says your name.

This is His story. This is our story. This can be your story.

If you’d like to know more, we’d love to talk to you. You’re very welcome to use our contact page, or the contact form to talk more, but we’d otherwise love to see you at any of our services, and particularly our Easter services in these next few weeks.

Join us on Maundy Thursday, as we remember the events around the Last Supper. This will be a reasonably traditional-style service, including Communion.

We’ll then be gathering again the next day, on Good Friday, remembering the events leading to Jesus’ death on the cross. We’ll be doing first by holding a Walk of Witness: several different churches will be taking different routes down to the middle of Manningtree for an Open Air Service with other Christians in the area, showing our faith and the importance of this day. We’ll be leaving Mistley Church at 11.15am and the Open Air Service will start at 11.45am in the centre of Manningtree (next to The Mogul). Following the morning’s acts of remembrance, we’ll then be holding a Good Friday Meditation at 1.00pm at Mistley, using The Olivet to Calvary as the basis for readings and music. Following this, there will be a Good Friday Service, 2.00pm at Bradfield, which will include short reflections on the Easter story, around hymns and readings.

Finally, on Easter Sunday, we will be gathering at sunrise (oof) to celebrate Jesus rising from the dead! The location might change slightly, but we’ll do our best to make it obvious where we are! There will be breakfast following this at Bradfield Church, which everyone is welcome to, even if they didn’t get out of bed in time! We’ll then be celebrating together with two different Easter services. There’ll be a more traditional and formal style service including the choir at Mistley, and a more informal style service including kids work at Bradfield. Please come to whichever service makes you feel best able to worship!

We really hope and pray that this Easter, for you and for all of us, is not just significant, but is decisive. Happy Easter.

“Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” asked the men.  “He is not here, but he has risen!

Luke 24:5-6 (CSB)