Easter Sunday Reflection: the Very Summit of the Christian Year
Posted on April 12, 2020 by Julian Smith
‘And Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, ”I have seen the Lord.” ‘
(John 20: 18)
Easter Sunday is the very summit of the Christian Year, reflecting that Jesus is resurrected in all his true followers; connecting them in his purity of soul to God as only he can; admitting them to the Kingdom of God not only in a life eternal, but in this life now with a ‘foretaste’ of that ‘glory divine’ which, if even marginally experienced, brings with it divine wisdom, a peace beyond that of this world, utter goodness and absolute joy.
I write in that faith, that knowledge, and that joy on this beautiful Easter Day, with my second floor flat’s patio doors wide-open to Spring and the leaves growing on the trees in whose canopies Andrew and I to some extent live Spring through Autumn. How I’m looking forward to more good weather amongst the trees in 2020. I always wanted a tree house as a child, and I now find I have one, and with all mod cons and enough space to have plenty of friends around.
Friday nights here, there’s always a spare place at my table for you and my other friends and family. I light a candle in our outdoor balcony lamp to bless the occasion and as a welcome. In these locked-down times I’ve continued to light that lamp on Friday nights and on many others. For Andrew and I feel very close in spirit to all our loved ones right now. Nor more so than in the case of our chapel friends. Some of us go back a very long way and have been as near or even nearer than family geographically and spiritually in our lives’ journeys, including during times of profound joy and sorrow. I have had the tremendous privilege to baptise or name you, marry you, put your loved ones to rest, or simply to spend time with you. It is this last I miss most of all, with their moments of ‘connection’ between us; moments which I cherish and frequently bring to mind to savour. Thank you for your love and ministry to me. I will never be old enough to earn it, but I will forever cherish it.
But to miss each other as we do is not a sad, but a glorious thing. Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder. I’m put in mind of when Toby announced in our joys and concerns candle lighting recently that a family relationship which had turned somewhat sour had become sweet once more. I’m also put in mind of Inge’s concern for her twelve year old Godson Nicholas who was involved in a traffic accident on his bicycle, and his parents, whom she would no-doubt like to support in person in Germany, but which she simply cannot do due to the lockdown. And as I’ve mentioned Nicholas, let us pray for him also:
‘Risen Lord, heal, restore, deliver and resurrect Nicholas within his distressed family, making him and them whole again …
We also bring before you all those who are sick, grieving and suffering in so many ways, not least through worry for their loved ones and themselves . Give them new life, consolation, protection, deliverance and peace.’ AMEN
There is now a meditative prayer for all of us:
‘God, you are the giver of Life.
The whole universe has its being only as a gift of your love.
In communion with all created things we stand in awe and wonder before this great mystery of life.
We see that all creation
– trees, birds, stones, mice, seas, mountains –
gives glory and thanks to you
just by being what they are
and taking their part in the unfolding of the universe story.
However long or short their span of life, each has its part to play.
We believe now that our destiny is for us too,
to live fully what we are,
and in this way give thanks and praise for the wonder of our being,
and so reflect your beauty and truth in the world.
Help us to participate in the story of life
by being responsible and loving our relationship with all creation:
not as superior beings, not taking more than we need,
not seeking to dominate or make ourselves the centre of everything,
not being manipulative, blind, demanding, controlling,
or interfering with the ongoing process of creation.
Help us rather to welcome differences,
difficulties and sacrifices, losses, uncertainties, tensions and even death as part of the natural conditions for growth and the emergence of new life.
Lord, the deepest desire of our hearts
is to live truly, fully and freely as you made us.
So often we lose sight of this;
We live falsely and are not present to what is unfolding and within us.
Help us to be more aware,
to see more clearly what your dream is for us,
to respond lovingly, freely and generously to your invitation –
drawing us all more deeply into eternal union with all that is
and with you, our loving God. AMEN’
(Sister M.R. McSparran, CP; ‘Daily Joy’, Ed Ann Holton; Adapted)
And so to the blessing:
God of Life, even in these dark days ahead, grant unto us all , the knowledge that ‘life is not a race, but a journey to be savoured, each step of the way.’
(Nancye Sims; As above)
Only news of and from each other is appropriate today; for which see our ‘Saying “hi” during lockdown’ post on our blog: www.brixtonunitarians. org.