I loved Easter because...
We asked everyone in The Six to say what they loved about Holy Week and Easter this year - here is what they said.
Easter 2012 was long awaited. New life was celebrated in a dramatic way with the baptism of 4 young men. Celebration worship was led by 4 more young men. How fantastic to be in a church where there are young men and women. We are told of the church dying, but from the ashes there will always be life. God is too big to let his church die. What a joy it was when we witness young people choosing to follow Jesus. They are setting out in the best direction their lives can take and I thank God so much for all this means. The whole Uplift Easter services was a God-given blessing. More people than ever before packed into the Village Hall and hearts and voices were raised as one. It was a celebration of all God is doing in our lives, in our church. HE IS TRULY ALIVE!
Easter is always a time of renewal and wonder, and it is difficult to pick out only one moment - or even two! I did however gain insight into the tremendous work and impact of St Paul at Archbishop Rowan's lectures. At Eater itself I have usually concentrated on Jesus and his last days and resurrection, but this year I meditated more on God and how He had such a love for humankind that He sent Jesus to the world and this revelation converted people from their old pagan, and often cruel, ways and inspired the early church and especially Paul to preach the gospel and literally to change the world. We take it all so for granted.
Seeing my two young grandchildren and a friend carrying high the cross of Jesus during the Good Friday Walk of Witness from Upchurch to Lower Halstow and hearing them retell the Easter story. How thankful I am that they are so aware of God in their everyday lives.
Taking in the detail of the large Lady Chapel window at Upchurch as Canon Alan and Clare drew our attention to parts I hadn't noticed before. It made me realise how we can look and not see.
During Holy Week seeing the blue tits return to our nesting box just outside the kitchen window. As the box has a camera in the roof we are privileged to watch the tits building their nest and then laying their eggs. All signs of the glorious new life that awaits us all at Easter.
The joint christening in Hartlip on Palm Sunday of the father and his young son.
The sight of the "die harder" sculpture in Southwark Cathedral - I've cut and pasted an extract from my intercessions on Easter Sunday to help explain.
This week Ross and I were fortunate to be able to see a sculpture in Southwark Cathedral, called Die Harder, a dramatic sculpture by David Mach RA which brings home the human agony of the Crucifixion. Made out of wire coat hangers it makes the most dramatic statement of Christ in pain and anguish pierced by thousands of small spears – a single body acting as a conduit for all the cares and woes of the world. The spears stand on end, as if electrified like thousands of antennae.
Jesus, for the love of us all; and for all our sisters and brothers
You died a death, hard and cruel.
May the hardness of your death make us gentle,
And may your pain, and the joy of your resurrection give us peace
My moment over Easter was during the Uplift service baptisms when Hugh asked those who were there to support the individuals concerned to step forward. Everyone moved forward. We are part of an amazing Christian family here in The Six.
One member of our congregation was moved to tears by the Easter message.
The Palm Sunday service at All Saints united all generations in the celebration of Jesus's entry into Jerusalem with the Iwade School choir giving us a series of Easter songs, then processing around the church at the end of the service waving palm branches they had made.
I will just share how I felt about ‘Low Sunday’. Having thought that not many people would turn up for Uplift, as we had had such a good attendance on Easter Day – but of course wrong again! All seats taken and more brought in to accommodate a family with a very young baby who had found it difficult to get there on time. This baby by the way was brought to the front at ‘birthday slot’ to show us that his BIRTH DAY was last month. Afterward the Table Tennis Tournament took off in the Hall – off with a capital O. What a joy to see lots of families all playing table tennis, eating their lunch in between, a new organiser trying to cope with the noise of the teenager group practising with their guitars and drums and giving instructions for the next games! All in all a GREAT ‘Low Sunday’ – nothing low about it – Thank you Lord.
Before I went away on holiday, Jacky threw down the gauntlet by daring me to attend the 6:30am Easter Sunday service - naturally I scoffed at the idea.
On the evening before and having just got back from holiday, I reconsidered and thought it might be a nice idea, so along with Jacky and 6 other faithful, we gathered ridiculously early on Easter Sunday morning on the spit of land jutting out into the Lower Halstow Creek behind the Church.
Thankfully the Lord kept the promised rain at bay while we concluded the outdoor part of the service - umbrellas in hand just in case. We were joined for this by a lady who was visiting from Australia for a few weeks who had family in the village, always nice to have visitors join in.
We moved inside the church for Communion, and I was temporarily very impressed by Jacky apparently prostrating herself at the altar until I realised she'd tripped over her robes and just managed to catch herself on the altar. Luckily her knees met with the prayer cushions on the altar step, leaving her unhurt, and the Lord was obviously demonstrating his awesome sense of humour.
I loved this service because of its simplicity, its intimacy and being an outdoors enthusiast the first part of the service gave an added dimension. Thank you to Jacky and the small but perfectly formed congregation for making this such a special service.
And you can read Rev Liz Cox's reflections on Easter in the prison in What's On, which is available in your church or can be downloaded here