DAY 25: Sunday 12 April
Good morning everyone and Happy Easter Day
In more normal circumstances there would have been the SonRise service at Wheatmoor Farm at 5:30am this morning. Because of the current situation, that gathering could not take place but here’s a photo of the group from last year with the sun just rising over the hilltop.
Churches may be closed across this land and indeed in many parts of the world and as such the message of the Risen Christ is probably more powerful than ever. I thought it would be good to share some Easter hymns together – for such a triumphant message, I felt that the soundtracks should be splendidly triumphant so Christ the Lord is Risen Today and Thine be the Glory are recorded in Coventry Cathedral and See What a Morning featuring Kristyn Getty as soloist.
I trust these hymns of praise will lift your heart and soul on this joyful day. Listen here or if you wish, singalong to the words on screen >>> https://falconlodgechapel.sermon.net/21572505
On Easter morning my thoughts often return to a place we visited for the first time 10 years ago. It is the Garden Tomb just outside the walls of Jerusalem. For centuries, Christians had worshipped at a place a short distance away where a church was built over what was believed to be the Holy Sepulchre. Most Eastern churches and Catholic traditions still come there to worship and it is indeed an impressive place, but so busy with thousands of pilgrims queuing, hundreds of candles in golden stands, bells, incense and artifacts and icons around the walls. Whilst I respect thousands of pilgrims find the place inspirational, for me it reminded me of the story we thought of last week when Jesus went into the Temple and overturned the tables of the moneychangers. He declared this place should be a house of prayer.
Perhaps I’m being unfair on those who do believe the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to be the place where Jesus was buried. But for me, the Garden Tomb just feels more authentic cut into the rock face and situated just yards from the Place of a Skull first spotted by the British General Gordon whilst he was stationed in Jerusalem overseeing the establishment of the new Jewish Nation in 1947/48. On our first trip to Jerusalem in 2008, we stayed in a small hotel just yards from this rock and our room actually looked out towards the rock. We didn’t realise until 2 days later how close we were to Calvary.
The garden in which the tomb was found is quiet and peaceful despite being right next to a local bus station, and after centuries of being overgrown has in the last 50 years been tidied and restored with new olive trees planted. At the corner of the garden is an ancient olive press in the ground and just behind that an opening into a small excavated cave believed to be the tomb prepared by Joseph of Arimathea but then used to bury the body of Jesus. The most important message of that peaceful place is ‘HE IS NOT HERE FOR HE IS RISEN’.
Mark 16:1-6 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.
Yesterday the articular by Max Lucado posed the question, where were the disciples? Had they forgotten Jesus’ prophecy that he would rise again after 3 days? It’s significant I believe that the only people who were prepared to make the journey to the tomb at the crack of dawn were 3 women.
Where were the men, those trusted disciples of the Lord?
It has been the case for centuries since that it is the women who get things done in church, who get up early to prepare and give so much of their time and effort toward the running of churches and Christian communities across this land and beyond. Thank you.
Enjoy your Easter this day, sadly without family and friends around but don’t forget Christ is Alive!
And don’t eat all the Easter eggs today!!!!
Wesley & Karen