DAY 26: Monday 13 April
Good morning everyone on this unusual Easter Monday
Trying to put together yesterday’s email was fraught with some technical hiccups but I got there eventually and thanks to those of you who have replied to say how much you enjoyed the Easter hymns. I understand Chris Brookes hooked up her speakers, opened her windows and wound up the volume so the neighbours would hear. Chris said it was so loud that her lounge was vibrating with the volume – I never had Chris Brookes down as a noisy neighbour! Well Chris is not allowed out herself so at least she has allowed some Easter Praise out of her house!
Then I got a text from Tom to say that his mum Mel was doing some cleaning at the Chapel and was apparently singing at the top of her voice!
Well done folks – keep it going – we’ve got so much to sing about !!
It’s still Eastertime so not too late to share the link to the final part of the Birmingham Passion Play Audio recorded in 2019 >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=dJ8Kq0PKSe4&feature=emb_logo
Although the SonRise service did not happen early yesterday morning, Ciaran and his mum did go on Good Friday to see the 3 crosses that had been erected there. Here are some of Ciaran’s photos
Karen sent the following –
Twas late in ‘19 when the virus began
bringing chaos and fear to all people, each land.
People were sick, hospitals full, doctors overwhelmed, no one in school.
As winter gave way to the promise of Spring,
the virus raged on, touching peasant and king.
People hid in their homes from the enemy unseen.
They YouTubed and Zoomed, social-distanced, and cleaned.
April approached and churches were closed –
“There won’t be an Easter,” the world supposed.
“There won’t be church services, and egg hunts are out.
No reason for new dresses when we can’t go about.”
Holy Week started, as bleak as the rest:
the world was focused on masks and on tests.
“Easter can’t happen this year,” it proclaimed.
“Online and at home just won’t be the same.”
Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the days came and went.
The virus pressed on; it would not relent.
The world woke Sunday and nothing had changed;
the virus still menaced, the people, estranged.
“Pooh pooh to the saints,” the world was grumbling.
“They’re finding out now that no Easter is coming.
They’re just waking up! We know just what they’ll do!
Their mouths will hang open a minute or two,
and then all the saints will all cry boo-hoo!
That noise,” said the world, “will be something to hear.”
So it paused and the world put a hand to its ear.
It did hear a sound coming through all the skies:
it started down low, then it started to rise.
But the sound wasn’t depressed, why, this sound was triumphant!
It shouldn’t be so but it grew with abundance.
The world stared around, popping its eyes.
Then it shook! What it saw was a shocking surprise.
Every saint in every nation, the tall and the small,
was celebrating Jesus in spite of it all.
It hadn’t stopped Easter from coming! It came!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the world with its life quite stuck in quarantine
stood puzzling and puzzling. “Just how can it be?”
“It came without bonnets, it came without bunnies,
it came without egg hunts, cantatas, or money.”
Then the world thought of something it hadn’t before.
“Maybe Easter,” it thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Easter, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
And what happened then? Well....the story’s not done.
What will YOU do? Will you share with that one or two
or more people needing hope in this night?
Will you share the source of your life in this fight?
The churches are empty - but so is the tomb,
and Jesus is victor over death, doom, and gloom.
So this year at Easter, let this be our prayer,
as the virus still rages all around, everywhere.
May the world see hope when it looks at God’s people.
May the world see the church is not a building or steeple.
May the world find Faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection,
May the world find Joy in a time of dejection.
May 2020 be known as the year of survival,
but not only that – let it start a revival.
Some further thoughts from Max Lucado –
Entrust your life and your death to the Hero of Easter. Believe in the One who declared: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:25-26) Winston Churchill did. The prime minister had planned his own funeral which took place on 30 January 1965. According to his instructions, two buglers were positioned high in the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral. At the conclusion of the service, the first one played ‘The Last Post’, the signal of a day completed. But immediately after, even with the sound of the first bugle call still echoing in the air, the second bugler played ‘Reveille’, the signal of a new day begun. Churchill requested this because he believed that at the end of history the final note would not be ‘Last Post’ but ‘Reveille’. Behold, I tell you a hidden mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed - in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
Is death the Dominion of the Grim Reaper? No.
Death is territory of the Soul Keeper who will someday announce –
“Your dead will live, your corpses will get to their feet. All you dead and buried, wake up! Sing! Your dew is morning dew catching the first rays of sun, the earth bursting with life, giving birth to the dead” (Isaiah 26:19).
So play on, bugler, play on. Church buildings may have been vacant yesterday but since the tomb of Christ is vacant, Easter cannot ever be cancelled as long as Christ is Risen!
If you are worried about death, read the whole of 1 Corinthians chapter 15 written by the Apostle Paul to a people who were also confused and worried about death. Death is not a bottomless pit but a passageway to somewhere new; the turning of the page to a new chapter.
To finish for today -
Last evening you may have watched the latest episode of ‘Race Across the World’ which included some of the contestants visiting Iguazu Falls in Brazil. It reminded me of a beautiful recording of How Great Thou Art mixed with the theme to The Mission played by The Piano Guys with Iguazu Falls and the statue of Christ the Redeemer as backdrops. Not only is Christ risen, but backdrops like Iguazu remind me how great is our loving Creator God.
Watch the video here (oh.. and message for Chris Brookes, you can turn up the volume!!!) >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHV6BjuQOZQ
Enjoy your day and count your many blessings
Wesley & Karen