Monthly Archives: April 2021

Easter Day 2021

THE LORD IS RISEN. ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA!
HE IS RISEN INDEED. ALLELUIA!

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 my favourite moments in the year is early spring
when I walk into Chinbrook Meadows early morning with the dog, and it is still dark,
but against the background of the darkness is the first blossom of the year appearing on the trees.

At first glance it looks like frost or snow but then it dawns upon you
that you are witnessing the first blossom of the New Year and hope is renewed.
That for me is the perfect image of Easter, of Resurrection.
The darkness and the winter is giving way to light. The world is being transformed.
All is well.

In the Lenten reflection I wrote of creation being full of little love notes from God
Blossom, for me, is one of those love notes,
reminding us of God’s renewing presence in our lives.
And it is very apt that it flowers at this time of year for Holy Week and Easter,
for this week is a continuation of that love letter.

This great feast tells us that no matter what we may be going through in life – God is with us.
It reminds us that God is continually transforming our lives through love,
that every day is a springtime for our souls.

God is alive, present and active in our world and in our lives,
and the love notes of God’s Presence appear suddenly, dramatically, and wonderfully,
like the blossom that appears unannounced from our trees and shrubs.

Many here this morning have been through some difficult times during this past year,
have known the darkness of winter in life, and may well have wondered where God is.
This Holy day tells us and shows us that God is right here.
God has walked the way of the cross by our side on our Good Fridays,
and God lifts us up to new beginnings and opens us to new life in our Easter rising.

This day, this holy season, is the ultimate love note from God,
brought to us, and opened for us, in the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord.
It is a love letter that comes with a PS.
P.S. Don’t forget to look for my letters, little notes, small gifts, and hidden treasures
scattered throughout your life in each every day.

You see every day is Easter day.
Even when we are caught up in our Good Fridays,
Easter is right there if we open our eyes and see.
Easter is right there in the kind word, the little act of kindness, the warm smile,
the gentle hug, the song of the blackbird, the breaking through of the sun,
the appearance of blossom – the sudden rising of joy.

A 15th Century Zen monk and poet wrote
that our primary spiritual practice should be to learn how to recognise and read
the love notes that are sent to us, that are all around us.
Our Easter mission is to do just that.

Life is full of little love notes, full of Easter moments, of God’s Presence.
May we have the grace to look for them and recognise them, and experience them.
May each day be a day of Resurrection.

Holy Saturday 2021

The Bird that Forgot its Song

I read a rather sad news article this week about an Australian bird, the Regent Honeyeater, that has begun to forget its own song. Fledglings would normally learn their song from other adult birds but they are becoming so rare that that this particularly bird has begun to copy other birds song rather than sing its own. The knock on effect of this is that without their song they are unlikely to find a mate and the species, already in decline, will probably end up extinct. In the early 1960’s an American conservationist, Rachel Carson, wrote an hauntingly entitled book: The Silent Spring. In this book she warned that if we humans continued to live the way we do now one day there will be a silent spring, because the there will be no birds to sing. It turned out to be very prophetic because in the last 50 years or so we there has been a massive decline in bird population and many have become extinct or are near to extinction. This article about the Regent Honeyeater really got to me, and I think that it is not just about this particular bird, or even birds in general, but also about human life. We too seem to have forgotten our song and unless we relearn it quickly we will do irreversible damage to our planet and all other life forms. If ever we needed Holy Week salvation it is now. The cross of Christ is a very potent symbol.
But today is Holy Saturday, a day of hopeful anticipation. There is still time to relearn our song of love for this planet, for God’s Kingdom, and God is still very much around to help us relearn our song and wake up to who we truly are, and truly can be. This day says despite it all, resurrection is possible, Easter renewal can come if we open ourselves to it. This reflection began with a sense of sorrow, but as I look forward to lighting the New Easter Fires this evening, and processing the New Easter Candle into church, I am filled with hope. I am filled with hope knowing we are deeply loved and that we can learn, as a species, to share that love with the whole of creation, and together we can relearn our song. I will finish with a beautiful poem by Siegfried Sassoon.

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on – on – and out of sight.

Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away … O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

Good Friday 2021

Reflection for Good Friday

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains but a single seed.
But, if it dies, it produces many seeds – so says Jesus in the Gospels.
Because of this day, death, pain, and tragedy are not the be all and end all of things;
they are the very things that God can use to bring healing, wholeness and renewal.

Through the life death and resurrection of Jesus,
God took the whole of life upon him or herself, and transformed it into saving grace.
Through the life of Jesus, God embraced our lives, our world, the whole of creation;
in all its glory, and in all its destructiveness, and gave it meaning.

This day tells us that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God;
neither death nor life, nor things present, nor things to come,
nor height, nor depth nor anything in the whole of creation.
So St Paul tells us in Romans 8.

On this day Jesus chose to not remain but a single seed,
but allow himself to fall into the ground and die, that many more seeds may be produced.
In other words, because Jesus embraced the whole of humanity,
including the painful and destructive bits;
through our participation in his life and love we can do the same,
and God can use our lives, to bring healing and wholeness to our world.

All our Good Fridays can be transformed into Easter Sundays.
The life and death and resurrection of Jesus changes everything.
Everyone has gone through a whole host of Good Friday’s in this last year.
we have all had losses that we have had to come to terms with,
many have hung on the cross of loneliness and isolation,
of stress and emotional turmoil, of anxiety and worry;
others on the cross of physical pain and suffering.

But this day tells us that Easter resurrection is coming.
The natural world around us is waking up to new and renewed life,
coming out of its winter isolation.
Seeds have fallen, died, and are now exploding into new life.

And for us too, resurrection and renewal will take place.
God will use the turmoil of this last year to awaken us to something new and beautiful.
Everything is grist for the mill. All we have to do is place it into God’s hands.
We have seen the devastation of this pandemic, + we have seen signs of heroic love.
Let’s place our world and ourselves alongside the transforming cross of Christ.
And allow God to do what God does, and see what holy love can do.

Maundy Thursday 2021

Reflection for Maundy Thursday

On the night that he was betrayed, Jesus took bread and gave thanks.
This is my body, he said, given for you.
He then took the wine and once again gave thanks.
This is my blood of the new covenant, he said. Eat, drink, in remembrance of me.

“Through your goodness we have this bread and wine to offer,”
we say in preparation of the Eucharist, “which earth has given, and is fruit of the vine.”
Jesus chose the things of the earth to seal his ongoing relationship with his disciples.
The ordinary, everyday, things of creation.
“Everything in heaven and on earth are yours,” we say, “of your own do we give you.”

Oh the debates that have gone on in the church through the ages,
as to the nature of bread and wine at holy communion.
Is it literally his body and blood, is it metaphorical,
is it happening now, or is it just about remembering?
Nothing has divided the church more, than what we believe about Holy Communion.
We even get worked up about what type of bread and wine we should use!

For me, Jesus was using bread and wine to represent the whole fruit of creation;
he was telling his disciples that he was with them in the ordinary everyday substance of life. In the beautiful, the mundane, the sweet, the sour, the colourful, the plain;
that through his Holy Spirit he was part of life, and so were they.
Which means that every moment is a holy moment, a potential for Holy Communion.
We do not just celebrate the Eucharist, we live the Eucharist.

I remember once being told that you should not be allowed to receive holy communion
without a lot of preparation to help you understand what it is you are doing.
Jesus simply said eat, drink, this is my body, this is my blood, this is my life.
What more do you need to understand?

Once we keep it simple we will experience holy communion on a daily basis.
What Jesus was telling us is that the whole of life is holy communion.
Christ is part of you and me, part of every plant, every bird, every animal,
every seed, every patch of dirt, every blade of grass and every grain of sand.

Everything is his body, his blood, his life. Life is a participation in the life of God.
O what a gift he was giving us on that Holy evening at the Last Supper,
which also became the First Supper.
A new beginning to his relationship with his followers.

That is not to say that holy communion in church is not special and important in itself.
It is. It is, because in it Jesus is reminding us again and again
that the whole of life is a sacrament of God’s holy presence.

In the last year many have been deprived of holy communion in church,
but not holy communion with God.
Eucharist is at the heart of every moment of life.
We simply have to learn to receive, rejoice, and be thankful.