Dear All,

We hope all is well with you & all your families.

The attachments are again focused on Easter, but include one about rainbows.  Many people see the appearance of a rainbow as a sign of blessing – scripture backs that up – remember Noah ……… There is also one about the Kingdom of Heaven – it challenges us to be part of building up that kingdom here & now rather than thinking it is elsewhere & for the future.

The last of our bit of our Easter programme takes place on Monday – details below.

WAY OF LIGHT (Stations of the Resurrection)

Reflections on S. Mary Stephen’s Paintings – ZOOM

Part 2 – Monday 24th April: 6.45pm 

To purchase a copy of the booklet (optional) ‘Way of Light’ please go to our online SHOP 

Link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85809303949?pwd=QjAyZmZaQVZqTVFnb3Y0cVh6SUJrZz09

Meeting ID: 858 0930 3949

Passcode: 261554

Our blessing today one of John Rutter’s blessings, ‘The Clare Blessing’.  Maybe we could include in our prayer any of us who have troubles in our families, extending the blessing to anyone affected.

With our love & prayer

 


 

Easter Joy

Joyce Rupp

Joy, come forth in us

like the Risen One

slipping forth

from the darkened tomb.

Come with Easter gladness,

robust power

easily pushing thick stone

from a tight enclosure.

Joy, come dance in us

like the Risen One

showing up unexpectedly.

 


 

The other day, I was looking at a rainbow & from where I was standing it seemed to bury itself in my neighbour’s garden, where, no doubt, a pot of gold was waiting to be found.  One thinks of rainbows as fairly static things, but they aren’t.  For a start this one was moving slowly down the valley behind a curtain of rain.  And it also pulsated, bright then faint, then brighter than ever.  It was most luminous in the middle, the orange, yellow & green band.  The red in the outer border was fuzzy and seemed to tail off into greyish.  The blue & violet bands were better defined but narrower, and, try as I might, I couldn’t see the seventh colour, indigo, that supposedly lies in between.  The grazing sheep and their newborn lambs ignored it, and so did their companion rooks and jackdaws.  Rainbows didn’t concern them.

 

In the story of Noah’s Ark the ‘bow in the cloud’, signifies God’s covenant between the patriarch and ‘every living creature that is with you’ forever.  The rainbow connecting heaven & earth represents the union of God and man.  In Eastertime such symbols seem more that usually potent.

 


 

But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ Mark 16.

And that’s where it ends.  At least, in the account of Jesus’s life according to Mark, that’s the end of the document.  In the three other gospels, Matthew’s, Luke’s and John’s, the books end with Jesus, risen from death, appearing, alive, to his disciples, who are filled with wonder and joy and go out to share the good news with the world.  But Mark’s ending, by contrast, is almost downbeat.  The women come to the tomb to tend to Jesus’ body; they find the tomb open and a man sitting there who tells them that Jesus has risen – but that he’s not here; they should go back to Galilee, where they will find him.  The women depart, afraid.  The end.   

 Or is it the end?   Why would we have that particular version for our Easter reading?  And what was Mark thinking when he wrote it down?   

 Well, the explanation depends on understanding one particular word – Galilee.  Galilee was the region in the North of Judea from which Jesus and his disciples came.  There in Galilee was Nazareth, the town where Jesus spent thirty years of his life; Capernaum, where he began his public work; and the lakeshore where he chose his disciples from among the normal everyday working men, farmers and fishermen who lived in the area.  

 For just the last week of his life, though, Jesus came to Jerusalem, the capital city.  Jerusalem stood for politics, wealth, power, the pomp and hypocrisy of the temple, and the metropolitan elite who felt themselves rather superior, rather special.  There in Jerusalem was where Jesus had come into the final conflict with the authorities, where he had been betrayed, tried and beaten, and there, beside the city walls of Jerusalem was where Jesus had died and there was the empty tomb. 

 Galilee was just 70 miles away but it was another world – a world of ordinary everyday people, going about their lives and making their living, ploughing their land, casting their fishing nets, greeting their friends in the villages and the fields, eating with their families, marrying their husbands and wives, raising their children, living, dying, loving, sometimes struggling, sometimes rejoicing – normal life, in other words, everyday life. 

 And there, said the messenger at the tomb, is where you will meet him.  There in Galilee, which stands for normality, for everyday life.  And so in a strange way this apparently flat conclusion is my favourite Gospel ending, because it tells the followers of Jesus where they will meet him.  And that’s me, and if you will, that’s you too. 

Galilee stands for the daily round of life.  Going about our eating and drinking, living and loving, sometimes struggling and sometimes rejoicing, alone and with friends.  Working, playing – enjoying ourselves, feeling bored……..This is Galilee, and here we will meet him.   

 We won’t be interrupted in the middle of a meeting by Jesus suddenly appearing in the room.  You’re not going to walk round the corner of your street and see Jesus standing there announcing “I’ve risen from the dead!”  But open your eyes and open your hearts and expect to see him in the joys of the daily round.  In every intimation of love and every manifestation of beauty.  In the faces and the eyes of others, in the trivial shapes of our common life, in friendship and achievement, in hard work and success – and yes, you will find him in sadness too and grief, and in failure and disappointment, for this is Galilee, and here you will meet him. 

 He has gone ahead of you.  Go and seek him, he who has come to seek you, and rejoice, this joyful Eastertide. 

 Part of a homily preached by the chaplain at Rugby School.

 


 

Easter People.

 

When we live as Easter people we give the lie to the idea that the Kingdom of Heaven is somewhere else, some time later.  When we go on hoping even when there is little reason that we can see for hoping, when we bring the true Easter gifts to others & share them with them – those gifts of joy, of hope, of peace – we are living in the Kingdom of Heaven here & now.  The Kingdom of Heaven doesn’t need to be just for the future – (& only then if we deserve it) – living in the spirit of Easter Sunday, & helping others to experience it, is the Kingdom of Heaven.  Harry Wilson in ‘True Resurrection’ says, ‘Heaven will be recognised as a country we have already entered, & in whose light & warmth we have already lived’.