Sermon: Holy Saturday

Earlier this week I was visiting a lady in St Christopher’s Hospice.
During our conversation she said to me:
I know I am dying of cancer, I have come to terms with that now,
but you know, and it seems odd to say this, I have never felt more alive.
Suddenly it is like something has lifted and I am seeing everything differently.
I look out the window and see the spring flowers and they have never looked so lovely,
I went outside at the weekend and the sun has never felt so comforting,
and when my family visit me I have never felt so close to them.
The she asked me: Do you know why that should be?
 
I have pondered that question all week
and the answer has come, I believe, in our Holy Week services.
What she is experiencing is Resurrection, Easter Glory, the anticipation of new life.
Not only new life but life in all its fullness.
 
That is what this most beautiful and holy event in life has done.
It has made everything more alive; it has made everything more immediate;
it has made everything new and holy.
What we have to do is open our eyes and see; and open our hearts and live.
 
The closeness of death has opened something up inside that lady in the hospice.
By beginning to let go of life as she has known it,
she has begun to experience it for what it truly is.
That is what it means to die with Christ, and to rise with him to new life.
It is no longer me who lives, said St Paul, but Christ who lives within me;
in other words life is a process of letting go of the little, limited me
and allowing our true, Christ like, nature to begin to break through.
 
Resurrection, Easter, is not about the end of life
– it is about the beginning of life.
This Holy Night has the potential to change our lives and to change our world….
To Charge us with the Grandeur of God –
to use the words of the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.
 
He goes on to say that God’s grandeur will flame out within us
like the shining of shook foil –
And the world broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
 
This Holy Night and in this Holy Season
God’s Grandeur, God’s Flame, God’s Presence and God’s Love
breaks in upon our world and our lives –
once again calling us to wake up,
to open our eyes and see, and open hearts and live.