This morning we return not just to the strong beginnings but also to the great joy of the Christian faith, known in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. As we raise our voices singing the great hymn by Charles Wesley, “‘Christ the Lord is risen today’, all creation join to say … Vain the stone, the watch, seal; Christ hath burst the gates of hell … Soar we now where Christ hath led, following now our exalted Head”, it is not just our faith that is renewed, it is our lives. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, and our own, and indeed the renewal of this world.
For the cover of the Easter Order of Service, I have selected a painting of the Risen Jesus that jumped out at me the first time I saw it. With bright colours, Whatley conveys the beauty and hope that returns to our lives when we hear that the power of sin and death over us is ultimately defeated.
But I see and feel more.
So many great works of art through the ages capture Easter morning with an arresting image of stillness – the triumphant Jesus standing in front of the open tomb, or Mary joyfully embracing the feet of Jesus in the garden beyond the tomb. In this painting I feel movement, the dynamic of life raised … and rising. I hear the great declaration, that for those who are ‘in Christ’, the resurrection life is already at work within us – by the grace of God known in the resurrection, who we have been no longer defines who we are in God’s eyes, and new beginnings are always possible at every step along the journey of life as well as at its end. And as we hear in a final passage from Revelation, I am reminded that this rising of Jesus is a promise not only for us as individuals but also for us as a renewed humanity and creation – ‘Behold, I make all things new’ (Revelation 21:5). That is something to celebrate … and to participate in!
Join us, Easter morn! There is a nursery for infants and a programme for young children. Ample free parking can be found in the streets around St. Andrew’s and in the civic parking lot just behind the church off Queen Street.