‘Arise Sheffield’, the initiative behind the prayer-walking, Easter card and egg distribution, involving over 150 churches, also suggested we put a colourful Easter poster in our windows. Since the artistic genes completely bypassed me, I decided to turn to my ten-year-old granddaughter for help. She was still being home-schooled although her younger sister had been allowed to return to school, so I thought she might be glad of an activity. As I expected, Isla produced a very suitable poster. I’ve put a smaller version of it above, but let me describe it as I see it.
The foreground is a green hill with a bare wooden cross. Behind the cross is the tomb, but it is not represented like a stone tomb, but rather as a rainbow. Well, I did ask her to make it colourful! She has also written ‘He is Alive’ underneath – twice and with 3 exclamation marks to make the point. I love it and I’ve had it displayed in my window since two weeks before Easter.
As I looked at it a few days ago, something struck me which I hadn’t noticed before, and which I expect hadn’t occurred to Isla. The poster depicts two covenants: the first and the last covenants which God made with people. God has always related to his people by covenant, by an agreement about their responsibilities and his response of blessing as they live up to them.
The first covenant was made with Noah when he came out of the Ark. Noah built an altar and sacrificed to God and, in response, God promised never again to destroy the world with a flood. Years later, God made a covenant with Abraham when he chose him to be the father of a special nation; next with Moses when the Israelites had been brought out of slavery and were given the Law to help them to live in obedience and relationship to God.
Covenants always involved sacrifice and the one we have with God today is no different. Jesus died as our sacrifice that first Easter. As he shared bread and wine with his disciples the night before he was crucified, he said: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22:20), words we remember as we celebrate Communion.
Today we live in the joy of a resurrected Saviour, in covenant with the One who was himself our sacrifice. That is truly a cause for celebration and colourful posters. Let’s rejoice in all Jesus has covenanted to us: his constant presence and an eternal home in heaven with him.