The Ven. Dr Paul Wright, FRSA, Archdeacon of Bromley and Bexley, gave this reflection on Easter Day. The text is below, it can be heard here
Little did I know when I was ordained 40 years ago this June as a priest, that I would be unable to lead worship in church today Easter Sunday. This year I had been looking forward to sharing most of Holy Week with the gathered community at All Saints’, but in the end that couldn’t happen. The unimaginable happened: we were faced with a health crisis that forced our churches to be closed for the time being.
However, one thing that has come out of this are people’s capacity to use more effectively the latest technology, and for that we should be grateful. So – to those of you who are listening to my reflection, a very happy Easter – and I write this with some confidence because things will get better, but also things will change.
Those early followers of Jesus could not have imagined the events of Jesus’ last few days before the great sign of hope we call Easter. In the Gospel reading it is interesting that when some of the disciples found the tomb empty they couldn’t get their heads around what was going on, but there is this very powerful phrase, “He saw and believed – for as yet they did not understand.” Faith precedes understanding. The idea of somebody rising from the dead is pretty dramatic, but then God can do amazing things and through his great love for us and his creation, he decided to break through even his own protocols. You may not understand it but you had better believe it!
A former Pope called all Christians ‘Easter People’, and rightly so. We profess that Jesus died and rose again. The cross as a symbol of weakness became a symbol of strength, and the love of God was revealed in Christ – the darkness turned to light, despair to hope.
Most of us are stuck indoors, possibly with family but I know some of you will be on your own – but you are not alone for God’s love and light are there for you to draw on. We have a living faith and we need to live that out. Trying to understand what went on with Christ bursting from the tomb is something that can follow. We may not understand what is going on in our world at the moment (and it can be frightening), but put your faith in God, put your hand in His hand, as it were, and he will not let you go.
Jesus did say to his followers early on, “In this world you will have trials and tribulations, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” I think he meant all the ‘stuff’ that we surround ourselves with, all the structures we erect, all the things we grab to feel more secure. I know from my own experience over the last few weeks I have begun to re-think about what I do with my time and how I sustain my relationships. Jesus on the night that he was betrayed, when he met with his disciples for that first time to break the bread and share the cup in a new way, is something he asked his followers to do as a proclamation of his death and resurrection. Again, at that Last Supper Jesus said to his disciples, “This is my commandment: you are to love one another.” Perhaps when we get back to normal, whatever that looks like, we might try to fulfil that commandment: to love one another. We might fulfil that command to regularly break bread and share the Cup. There are things to look forward to, and that is why we can have a sense of joy today. Now, for All Saints’ one of the key things you can look forward to is the arrival of your new Vicar, The Revd George Rogers, and his wife, Dr Yun Lee Too. I know he will receive a warm welcome and I hope that the lessons the community at All Saints’ have learnt through this experience is how to work together for the common good.
As Duncan has been kind enough to read my reflection and share my thoughts, I pray that when your new Vicar arrives all of you will find ways to work with him in spreading that wonderful Good News.
The Lord is Risen; He is risen indeed. Alleluia.
God bless you on this most holy day – Paul