You may think me a little behind the times in wishing you this, but Eastertide is 50 whole days, so the greeting which is customary in some of the Eastern churches at this time of the year will serve well here: Christ is Risen – He is risen indeed.
The whole of the liturgical year is celebrated with this as the permanent perspective: the Lord IS risen, and the fact of the Resurrection changes everything – the way in which we pray, the way in which we celebrate, the way in which we live, and indeed the way in which we die, for "dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life".
But it is amazing (or startling) how the year flies by, for no sooner will we have celebrated the Feast of Pentecost – the 50th day after Easter, this year on 15 May – than the television will be wooing us with 'must-have' presents for Christmas 2016! Time certainly flies by but hopefully somewhere, somehow, we become that bit wiser, that bit closer to God – and that bit more able to witness to the never-changing reality of the Resurrection, and the gift of the Holy Spirit which is the very life-blood of the Church.
Well, that is the hope anyway. The reality we may feel is very different – but often we are our own worst critics. This Eastertide, therefore, be grateful for the many ways in which in the past, present and, we hope, future, the life-giving Spirit has guided us to make best use of the many gifts and talents we have received from the gracious hand of God. We may sometimes be the last person to actually recognise these gifts, so may we always be ready and open to what others recognise and suggest for us – and willing to put our gifts at the service of the family of faith, for God loves a cheerful giver!