A Reflection for Easter

Dear Friends,

Alleluia, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed, Alleluia!

So goes the ancient Easter greetings.

You probably don’t know the name Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin nor should you. But during his day, he was a powerful man on this earth. A Russian Communist leader, he took part in the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, was editor of the Soviet newspaper Pravda, and was a full member of the Politburo. Although Communism in Russia is long dead and buried, we should not forget how aggressively Communism sought to undermine, even destroy Christianity and replace it with an atheist state.

There’s one particular story about Bukharin. It’s about a journey he took from Moscow to Kiev in 1930 to address a huge assembly on the subject of atheism. Addressing the crowd, he aimed his heavy artillery at Christianity hurling insult, argument, and proof against it.

An hour later, when he was finished, he looked out at what seemed to be the smouldering ashes of the people’s faith. “Are there are any questions?” Bukharin demanded. Deafening silence filled the auditorium, but then one older man began his slow but steady pace to the lectern.

Standing shoulder to shoulder to the communist leader, he surveyed the crowd first to the left then to the right. Finally, he mustered all the strength he had inside him and shouted the ancient greeting known well in the Russian Orthodox Church, “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” and en masse, the crowd stood to their feet and the response came crashing like the sound of thunder, “He is risen indeed! Alleluia!”

That is a remarkable story – and if it’s true, one that should give us hope this Easter. For the past year has been a year which has rocked the foundations of our lives. COVID has had a profound effect on all of our lives. We have not been able to enjoy the things we took for granted and every day events have caused us to be cautious and fearful. See folk in the street but do not recognise them because of their face coverings.

And yet, at Easter we recall the events that follow the horrors of Good Friday. Jesus died of the Cross but three days later he is risen. Death, even death on the cross, could not overcome him.

No matter what is going on in the world, God continues – he can’t be destroyed and he continues to reach out to us in all circumstances.

Alleluia, Christ is Risen! Have a lovely Easter, full in the knowledge that Christ is Risen in deed, Alleluia.