Easter Day 2018

The Lord is Risen. Alleluia. Alleluia.
He is Risen Indeed. Alleluia. Alleluia.

These are the words that begin our worship on Easter morning.
They are a cry of exultation; a cry of celebration;
a cry of renewed hope; a cry of faith.
We live in a world of doubt, a world committed to reason;
a world that often likes to mock traditional spiritual beliefs,
as if they were mere fairy tales for children.
I prefer to live in a world that that is humble enough to know
that there are still happenings and events beyond our understanding,
and life still has the ability to surprise and delight us.
May this coming Easter renew our faith in the surprise
and the delight that God brings to our world,
and to all hearts that remain open.

We are called to be an Easter people.
Easter is not only about the events
surrounding the latter part of Jesus’ life –
it’s about you and me.
What Jesus achieved for us in his life, death, and resurrection
he now seeks to achieve within us.
We are called not only to believe in the Jesus but follow him;
to not only rejoice in his life as it unfolded in the Gospel story,
but to open ourselves and allow his life, death and resurrection
to unfold in us, and serve and minister through us.
Easter calls us to a fuller, richer, meaningful life;
it calls us to continue on our journey
to become the person God calls us to be.
Are we ready to respond to the Easter call?

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Happy Easter everyone. Thank you for following our Lenten Blog.
This is the last entry for this year.
I finish with the sermon for Easter Day.

One of the great joys of Easter morning is coming into church
and seeing the wonderful Easter flowers that cry out to us: He is risen!
Not having flowers in church during lent deepens the impact of them today,
and you realise just how much you miss them.

Flowers play such an important role in our lives,
our lives would be far less rich without them.
This time of year in particular when we see them bursting up all around us,
the gloom of winter seems to be lifted from us and our hearts skip with joy.

I love the first blossom to appear on the trees;
I tend to walk the dog early in the morning
and going into Chinbrook meadows, as the sun is rising,
the blossom on the trees has a mystical quality about it –
like creation is coming to life for the very first time.

Flowers, of course, also express so many feelings and emotions for us.
They express our gratitude; our sadness, our joy, our grief, our love, our care.
There is no occasion when flowers are not appropriate,
our lives just would not be the same without them.

Jesus recognised this quality in them. He told us to look at the lilies of the field
and how Solomon in all his splendour was not arrayed like one of these.
The Buddha is said to have given a silent sermon for an hour
just holding a flower before his disciples and leaving them to work it out for themselves.

St Frances of Assisi, despite all his austerity, allowed himself one luxury;
that was to have flowers constantly growing outside the chapel he tended.
He told his followers that their
“Mysterious and gentle language speak to the very depths of the heart.”

Flowers have been described by other saints as: messengers from the heavenly realm;
bringing the fragrance of the Holy Spirit into the material world.
I guess that is why they play such a profound part in our worship
and that you rarely ever see a church or chapel that does not have flowers in them;
at least during the great festivals.

Flowers are a very powerful and appropriate image of Easter.
This feast brings the fragrance of God’s Holy Presence into our earthly realm;
and it’s mysterious and gentle language speaks to the very depths of our hearts.
Our God is alive; paradise is wide open;
and nothing now can separate us from his presence.

We live in a world that holds much pain and sorrow;
We live in a world that is anxious and fearful;
we live in a world where greed and the lust for power threatens to dominate.
But this great feast of Easter tells us they never can.
The doors of God’s kingdom are wide open.
God’s loving presence continually springs up in the midst of it all
like the first flowers of creation, bringing beauty into barrenness;
light into darkness; and new life into the most difficult circumstances.

Mary went to the tomb on Easter morning thinking everything was finished;
but she met the Risen Lord in that first Easter garden and knew that it had just begun.
Today we walk together in that Easter Garden, like Mary we meet the Risen Lord;
And like her we know that life can never be the same again.

That mysterious and gentle language of love speaks to the very depths of our hearts
and we carry within us the seeds of love to share with our world.
May we plant those seeds in the course of our daily lives;
may they flower and blossom
and may the Easter garden flourish at the heart of our lives
and continually grow and spread and flourish in our world.

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