A weekly column by MP John Hayes
Each year as pink and white blossom emerges on the budding fruit trees here in my Moulton garden, I reflect on the rebirth that is Spring.
Yet the joy of a new season is tinged by sadness at the loss of what’s been, as another year’s progress marks the passage of time; with each season, as we age, our past becomes longer, but our mortal future shorter. Perhaps with this in mind, given his preoccupying themes of time and change, TS Elliot observed ‘April is the cruellest month’.
Another poet Philip Larkin wrote of ‘the trees coming into leaf/ like something almost said/ the recent buds relax and spread/ their greenness is a kind of grief.’
Larkin’s lines emphasise a vital tension between loss and joy. Easter – the essential Christian festival – defines the relationship of sacrifice and new hope. The delights we have enjoyed, from hot cross buns to chocolate confections, are not just seasonal treats, but symbols of sacrifice and rebirth. Easter eggs, of course, represent the resurrection; the chick hatching from its shell resembling Jesus rising from the tomb.
Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection is the true message of Spring – his love brings the prospect of rebirth for us all; a fresh chance to rejoice in all he was and all he is.
All born here – and those that have come – should know the Easter message, for we are a Christian country with an established church at the heart of national life. Christianity has shaped our island nation and must continue to do so.
In this spirit, the Prime Minister has spoken of Easter as a time ‘to reflect on what Christianity brings to Britain’ and of the ‘countless acts of kindness’ carried out by Christians every day.
Having relaxed with family and friends at Easter, it is fitting to focus on sacrifice. For through the gift of our commitment to others the purest happiness is to be found, as in every act of kindness or goodness joy is reborn.