This week is full of new life and fun for many in our community. Easter is also a time for people to come together. My own family is preparing to gather around a big table in my sister’s new home. She is putting on a spread of delicious food and we will tell stories, laugh, and eat until we’re stuffed. Grandma is preparing an Easter egg hunt for all the grandkids and we will spend the rest of our day recovering from a chocolate overdose. This is also a season of newness as we wait for sprouts of life to emerge from under the snow and ice. Bulbs and roots are ready to grow and must be as excited as we are for warmer days. My bees have been sending out scouts looking for the first flowers, and even on these cold days we know that it will not be long before we’re digging in our garden and clearing out the old undergrowth. Crocuses. Kids. Grandmothers. Parents. Bees. We all hope for spring. For Christians, this season of Easter reminds us of another kind of hope. The Easter story captures the sorrow of the death and burial of Jesus. It was a time of loss and confusion for those who followed Jesus, when for three days Jesus was dead and buried in a tomb. But the story did not end there. When it seemed hopeless, the story took a sudden turn. Jesus is said to have risen from the dead, alive and well he was seen by hundreds and thousands. It was and is an incredible story, and one that has endured for two thousand years and influenced the faith and lives of billions of people. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor who was executed by the Nazis days before the end of the War, wrote from prison about the hope he had in the story of Easter. He wrote, “Good Friday and Easter free us to think about other things beyond our own personal fate, about the ultimate meaning of all life, suffering and events; and we lay hold of a great hope.” For Bonhoeffer and others, the story of Easter reflects a deeper hope that there is something more happening here. He believed that this life is not meaningless, that our suffering is not overlooked, and that we are known, loved and embraced by God. C.S. Lewis, the author of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” wrote about how the Easter story gave him hope. He said, “To be Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” The Easter story gave him hope that he was forgiven, could forgive others, and live in growing peace with those around him. C.S. Lewis discovered that Easter led to a grand new hope that God loves us us and making all things new. May the Easter story give you hope, may it remind you that there is more to this life, that goodness is around the corner, that you are loved, and that you are forgiven and invited into more meaningful relationships with others. Life is about to spring forth in our city once again, may this Easter be a season of new hope in you, too.