An Easter Message from Rev Helen Penfold

I wonder if you have succumbed to temptation and chomped an Easter Egg yet? As a child, my mum used to make me save them until Easter Day, and it was really very hard to do so. After all, research tells us that fourteen out of every ten individuals likes chocolate(!!)

We are getting towards the end of Lent, if you have given something up as a form of fasting, how are you getting on? If you have tried to take up something new as a spiritual discipline, have you managed to keep going? Can I encourage you to stay strong? Not much longer to go.

I think it also feels like that with the Covid-19 regulations. We are eagerly anticipating the dates when we will be allowed to meet people from outside our households in our gardens, in our homes and even be able to go on holiday. But we need to be patient. Not much longer to go.

On 23 March we remembered with great sadness the huge number of lives that have been affected by the pandemic, I’m sure the daily figures continue to be a very sobering reminder to each of us of the necessity to keep the rules.

As we look towards Easter, we always come to Good Friday in a similarly sombre frame of mind. It was not good for Jesus. He approached Jerusalem sure of what awaited him – betrayal by his friends, a mockery of a trial, a cross and a horribly agonising death. So we will remember the events of that day. And we will keep vigil with Jesus and his friends in a time of worship with a zoom service this year.

But just as nature in Springtime rises to new life, so we will recall that “on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the entrance”. Remarkable certainly, but nowhere near as wonderful and utterly astounding as what happened next. Mary stood outside the tomb weeping and as she wept, she peered onto the tomb and saw two angels who asked her why she was crying. Her words “they have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have laid him”. She turns around and sees one who she assumed to be a gardener who asks her the same question and her response is to ask if it was he who had removed the body and where was it, so that she might take it away. The anonymous gardener speaks her name “Mary” and she knows that Jesus is alive, is right there before her and the horrors of Friday are replaced by a miraculous Sunday. Her testimony? “I have seen the Lord!”

May that be our testimony too.

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