Easter Sunday is always special, but yesterday seemed especially so for some reason. Something in the worship…
It began at 10.30 on Saturday night as a small group of us gathered in the church to keep vigil overnight together. It is a hard event to convey in words - we prayed together at fixed points during the night and in between ate, drank, talked, laughed and ate. At 6am we went down to the beach for a sunrise service, where we we joined by a few others. Unlike last year, we didn’t actually see the sun. Instead, it just got light! I closed my eyes to say the opening prayer in the half-light, and when I opened them again I could see properly. I’m sure there’s a sermon illustration in that somewhere! We met around the fire and recalled Jesus meeting his disciples on the shore of lake Galilee as St John describes it. My friend Kim Fabricius led us in a short reflection and we sang, badly accompanied on a tin whistle whose sound is too easily swallowed up in the wide-open space of Swansea Bay.
Back in church we had a light breakfast (note to self: organize this better next year!) and were ready just in time for the 8.30 communion. This is a service that always has a quiet, joyful dignity. I led communion again at 10.30, but this time a “family service” with lots of children, some of them very young. I didn’t preach as such at this service but did try to make it a “teaching communion”. The youngest children came to the table to see and touch and taste what we we were doing.
At 3.00 I was in our Penlan church, sharing a service with my colleagues there. I preached about the ending of Mark’s gospel, more-or-less as I had at 8.30. It’s my favourite of the resurrection stories, though i accept it might seem like an odd choice, since Jesus doesn’t actually appear. But just as the tomb cannot contain him, neither can the fear of the women prevent the good news of his resurrection getting out. The gospel doesn’t depend on you or me. It’s all about God.
And that’s good news!