Thursday 13th April Said Mass at 10.00am.
There will be no service on Sunday 16th April, the next Holy Communion will be on Sunday 23rd April 2023.
Annual Parochial Church Meeting Wednesday 26th April at 10.30am.
The Coffee Mornings continue to be held each Tuesday from 10.00am - all are welcome.
It’s Easter and the good news for chocolate lovers is that it will soon be time to break into those eggs. As we know, Easter eggs have contents, whether it is gooey cream, maltesers or some other treat. But if we can just park that chocolate craving for a bit longer, we can see that there is even more cause for rejoicing than Easter eggs. For Christians, eggs are symbolic of the tomb and of the new life that emerges from the darkness. This is the real good news of the season.
The surprising thing is that when we read in John’s gospel about the first encounter with the tomb, there wasn’t much in there at all. Like an egg without a filling, there were just the grave clothes folded up. The main contents were missing and the disciples were in a state of confusion. For all that, we are told that they believed. For the first time they understood what Jesus had meant when he said that he must rise from the dead.
So what could have convinced them? After all, someone could have taken the body away, as Mary Magdalene had feared, a bit further on in the gospel account. Something must have enabled them to see the scene through different eyes. Some special kind of insight must have convinced them that what they were witnessing meant more than just an empty space.
Our first instinct is to see an absence as just that – the absence of whatever it is we are looking for. A bereavement, for instance, can just seem to leave an empty space. Then there is the absence of peace and security that can afflict our world. There is conflict once again in Europe. There is violence between Hamas and the security forces in Israel, the very homeland of Our Lord. Stability in Northern Ireland is once again thrown into question, with the breakdown of power sharing. Our society has changed over the past couple of years in ways that have caused loss and pain, with Covid and the cost -of-living crisis. Then there are whatever losses we might have to face in our own lives, with health, finances and more besides. Perhaps it is often easier for us to identify with Good Friday than with Easter Day.
There can be so many reasons why we might look at these things and see a space that is empty of whatever it is that we long for. Even so, we see that in the darkest situations there can be a hope that refuses to die. In war-torn situations, in places of poverty and in the everyday losses and struggles of human lives, our faith in the Risen Christ gives us a reason to look to the future with hope. Even in sad times there also remains a deeper joy that challenges despair. Above all, there is a love that really is stronger than human wickedness and more powerful than death.
Sometimes it is in the struggles and the losses that faith can shine out most brightly. In circumstances of persecution, Christian faith can continue to grow. This doesn’t mean that we should look for adversity, but it does mean that we have examples of faith to encourage us. In the daily events of life, today is a reminder of the hope and the joy which we can cultivate through public worship and private prayer. We find the resurrection not through retaliation but through joining with Jesus in his path of forgiveness and compassion.
I find it encouraging that today we join with people throughout the world in proclaiming that Christ is risen. Some of those people live in much poorer parts of our world than our own. There is a far greater number of worshipping Christians in Africa and the Indian subcontinent than there are in our part of the world. All of them know that there is a reason for hope and for joy as we celebrate Easter today and as we follow the risen Christ throughout the rest of our year. In the empty spaces of life, they, like those first disciples, have found new life.
The reason the stone was rolled away was not to let Jesus out. The life and the love of God could not be confined in that dark place, even with a stone across the entrance. The stone was rolled away to let the disciples come in and to know for the first time what Jesus meant when he said that he would rise from the dead. Just as God created everything out of nothing, so God also enables faith to emerge from empty spaces. Love does not die and new life is all around us. Jesus is with us no matter where we are and no matter what we face. As we crack open those eggs, let’s remember the reason why we do it. Christ is risen!