Newsletter 4th April 2021 – Easter Week
I am writing this on Good Friday, between a service for the interring of ashes at the Cemetery and the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion at 3pm. Both of these moments remind us of the reality that all will die. Death is the certainty that we all live with, but we must live the life we have as a gift, and in the words of Jesus, “live it to the full” (John 10:10).
As Christians we know that death is transformed by the Resurrection of the Lord. In the midst of the past year, when so many have died because of the covid virus, we cannot forget death’s pain and the suffering it brings. But the celebration of Easter is the place where our faith and hope are born. We pass from the horror of the death of Jesus by the cruellest means possible – crucifixion – to the serenity of a garden where a woman weeps, because “they have taken my Lord away and I do not know where they have put him” (John 20:13). Her tears were real, she mourned the death of Jesus, she who was so close to him is separated and it hurts. Yet with one word, “Mary,” her tears were turned into those of joy at the sight of the resurrected one.
Many people in our world are searching for meaning; meaning within the disaster that this pandemic has wrought on people’s lives, not only in the loss of loved ones, but the unemployment it has brought, the family tensions it has caused, the poverty that comes in waves over people’s lives. Where should they look? It’s easy to seek to apportion blame on the ineffectiveness of authority, the imbalances of power within our society. But the one place they need to look, with open eyes and open hearts, is into the darkness of an empty tomb. When we read the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection, the significance of the emptiness of the tomb began to take root and flower in the minds and hearts of his followers, starting with Mary of Magdala in that Easter garden. No longer was there the desolation of Good Friday, but the hope and joy of the new creation that brings all he said and did into sharp relief; “it is true, he has risen and has appeared to Simon” (Luke 24:34). The news caused the disciples to run to the tomb, to peer in, and to believe. That impulse, that drive, never left them as they began their apostolic mission to “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:16)
Easter is the feast we celebrate, and it is a feast for all who desire to celebrate it. We can only grasp its meaning if we too bow low, peer into the darkness and see the emptiness of that tomb. We need to embrace the hopelessness, the tears and the confusion of those who first celebrated it and allow its significance to fill that emptiness within us. And then, we must be driven out to proclaim that “He is Risen: Alleluia!” to all the world. This is the mission of the Church, it is the mission of every Christian that begins with the encounter with the Risen Christ, just as Mary, encountering who she thought to be the gardener, ran “and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord.” (John 20:18)
It has been a great privilege and joy to be with you this Holy Week. Dear friends, be assured of my continuing prayers for you, and in your kindness, please pray for me!
Surrexit Christus spes mea: praecedet suos in Galilaeam.
Christ my hope is arisen; he will go before his own into Galilee
From the Easter Sequence
Rev. Canon Christopher Thomas
2021 4th April Newsletter – Download
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