Church of England Diocese of Sheffield Stannington

Thought for the week: Easter Dawn

16 Apr 2020, 7 p.m.

On Easter Sunday as the sun rose, (quite spectacularly for those who were up and about at 6:12!), we were able to proclaim “Alleluia, Christ is Risen”.

And yet… and yet… even at this holiest of moments, the very climax of the liturgical year for us Christians, many of us would have been saddened that we were unable to enjoy this experience in the immediacy of our church family. It just felt wrong not to be in church on Easter Sunday, to not hear those thunderous notes booming from the organ as we sing ‘Christ the Lord is Risen Today’ or ‘Thine be the Glory’. We missed the joyful embrace of the Peace, the delight on our children’s faces, the bacon sandwiches…! We missed human contact. Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter… the list goes on! Yes, they are all well and good, if you have access to them, if you can use them, if you can afford a device and the Wifi; but they can never, nor will they ever, replace face to face human contact. And many of us felt this particularly keenly on Easter Sunday.

But! And here is the wonderful news. Jesus Christ is Risen! Alleluia, Alleluia! The powers of darkness, of hell, of Satan, they threw everything they had at our Lord Jesus Christ, but it was not enough to defeat Him! Praise be to God. Jesus Christ prevailed against the powers of darkness, He rose from the dead, death was defeated and all who put their trust and faith in Him will too rise in glory. This Easter joy remains true regardless of what is happening in the wider world. In this time of separation and ‘disconnectedness’ it may feel like we too are in a tomb waiting to be resurrected and restored to the fullness of life. But the body of Christ, the Church, us… we are still alive and kicking, the body is alive and it still functions, albeit in radically different ways. Our worship still continues – electronically, our practical service and support for our wider community continues – via a very busy foodbank, we still offer pastoral support – funerals, telephone conversations, cards, our care and concern for the church family continues – through the network groups. The building may be closed, but the life of the Church, the body of Christ that continues nonetheless.

Our church, your church is alive and well, we will meet again (I sound like the Queen now).

For now, as we continue to wait during lockdown I’d like to conclude with a wonderful poem from the book ‘Sounding the Seasons’ by Malcolm Guite:

On Easter Sunday as the sun rose, (quite spectacularly for those who were up and about at 6:12!), we were able to proclaim “Alleluia, Christ is Risen”.

And yet… and yet… even at this holiest of moments, the very climax of the liturgical year for us Christians, many of us would have been saddened that we were unable to enjoy this experience in the immediacy of our church family. It just felt wrong not to be in church on Easter Sunday, to not hear those thunderous notes booming from the organ as we sing ‘Christ the Lord is Risen Today’ or ‘Thine be the Glory’. We missed the joyful embrace of the Peace, the delight on our children’s faces, the bacon sandwiches…! We missed human contact. Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter… the list goes on! Yes, they are all well and good, if you have access to them, if you can use them, if you can afford a device and the Wifi; but they can never, nor will they ever, replace face to face human contact. And many of us felt this particularly keenly on Easter Sunday.

But! And here is the wonderful news. Jesus Christ is Risen! Alleluia, Alleluia! The powers of darkness, of hell, of Satan, they threw everything they had at our Lord Jesus Christ, but it was not enough to defeat Him! Praise be to God. Jesus Christ prevailed against the powers of darkness, He rose from the dead, death was defeated and all who put their trust and faith in Him will too rise in glory. This Easter joy remains true regardless of what is happening in the wider world. In this time of separation and ‘disconnectedness’ it may feel like we too are in a tomb waiting to be resurrected and restored to the fullness of life. But the body of Christ, the Church, us… we are still alive and kicking, the body is alive and it still functions, albeit in radically different ways. Our worship still continues – electronically, our practical service and support for our wider community continues – via a very busy foodbank, we still offer pastoral support – funerals, telephone conversations, cards, our care and concern for the church family continues – through the network groups. The building may be closed, but the life of the Church, the body of Christ that continues nonetheless.

Our church, your church is alive and well, we will meet again (I sound like the Queen now).

For now, as we continue to wait during lockdown I’d like to conclude with a wonderful poem from the book ‘Sounding the Seasons’ by Malcolm Guite:

Easter Dawn

He blesses every love that weeps and grieves

And now he blesses hers who stood and wept

And would not be consoled, or leave her love’s

Last touching place, but watched as low light crept

Up from the east. A sound behind her stirs

A scatter of bright birdsong through the air.

She turns, but cannot focus through her tears,

Or recognize the Gardener standing there.

She hardly hears his gentle question, ‘Why,

Why are you weeping?’, or sees the play of light

That brightens as she chokes out her reply,

‘They took my love away, my day is night.’

And then she hears her name, she hears Love say

The Word that turns her night, and ours, to Day.