One of my duties when I first arrived at All Saints’ Church, West Haddon, was to lead a mid-week service of Holy Communion – the BCP version, naturally! The custom was for the worship leader at that service to deliver not so much a sermon as what the vicar called ‘a blessed thought.’ I published my weekly offerings as a sort of ‘thought for the week,’ partly so others might read them and comment on them, and partly just as a personal record. So, here’s the first one from 27 April 2011…

Isaiah 42:10-16 & John 20:11-18

The last few weeks have been very hectic for us as we prepared for our move and our new life here. And it was even more hectic this last week as we, along with the church generally, prepared for the biggest, most important event in the Church’s calendar, Easter Sunday and the celebration of the central most important event of all: the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Days and weeks of preparation, and for those of us who were privileged to share them, the results of all that preparation were very worthwhile, and I hope you won’t mind my singling out, among the very many who contributed to our preparations and celebrations, Sandy and Sue for their moving contributions, especially the prayer trail and the service of light here, and Dennis’s musical offering based on the work “The Cross of Christ” helped us all to prepare for the shouts of “He is risen!” “He is risen indeed, hallelujah!” at the climax of our Easter celebrations. It set me to thinking about big events, and more particularly, what happens after big events. It would, I suppose, be very difficult not to be aware of the ‘big event’ on Friday. The newspapers and the other media have been full of it for weeks. If you enter the words ‘william’, ‘kate’ and ‘wedding’ into Google it comes up with over 37 million web pages in which you can learn all you ever wanted and all you ever needed to know about it, from detailed speculation on the dress and the wedding ring to the commemorative £5 coin, a prediction from the Met Office that London will have heavy showers during the day, and a prediction from the security services of an Irish Republican terrorist attack. We know – or we think we know the answer to, and I quote, “one of the royal weddings most hotly debated questions: will Kate Middleton wear her hair “up” or “down” for the ceremony?” It will “100 per cent be down and flowy, discloses Richard Ward, the hair salon owner whose stylist, James Pryce, will tend to the bride’s locks on Friday,” wrote the Daily Telegraph. Meanwhile, such is the demand, there’s a nationwide shortage of Prince William lookalikes. I could go on. And on. And on. But I’m concerned not for the events of Friday, important though they might be, and in a general spirit of good-will I don’t too much mind the excessive commercialisation of it all. This royal wedding is likely to benefit our ailing economy even more than the Olympic Games next year. But it’s what happens afterwards which concerns me. Just as what happens after Easter Sunday concerns me. We can’t sit back and say, “Great! That’s all over, then!” because, like a wedding, Easter was, and is, just a beginning. When Mary Magdalene recognised the risen Lord, it was the beginning of something. She went and told the disciples, and they went and told everyone else, anyone who would listen, anyway. May our Easter be a beginning, a renewal and a beginning, and may we, with the prophet Isaiah, go on to “Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth! Let everyone give glory to the Lord and proclaim his praise! If a wedding is for a day and a marriage is for life, then Easter is a day, but salvation is for eternity, but like a good marriage, we must work at it.

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