The Sub Prior & Bishop’s Chaplain Deacon Sarah Gillard-Faulkner preached at Evensong on Ester day following after the Bishop who preached over the Triduum.
Well like any good Bishop’s Chaplain, here I am bringing up the rear! For those of you who are wondering if I’m being totally rude, I’m not, as in any procession of clergy the Bishops Chaplain, which I am, is always the last in. It has been a tremendous time spent with our Bishop remembering and celebrating what is the heart of our faith as Christian people.
For unlike any other faith ours is one that proclaims and lives by the passion of our Lord and his resurrection. His passion paying the price for our sin and his resurrection giving us hope and the promise of eternity.
But fundamentally what is the point in all this fuss? What is the point in spending a week of the year running round like idiots from service to service? So that ultimately we can be changed by these happenings.
St Paul in the passage we heard from his second letter to the Corinthians tells them that Christ’s death and resurrection is a big change in the landscape of life. The happenings in Jerusalem on that first Holy Week, the news of the resurrection is the Good News that changes the way in which we should see things. These events then, and even so now, give us a new way in which to live. Paul challenges the Corinthians that they should be living cheerfully in this knowledge. For Saint Paul it has changed the way he looks at things from the old order of Judaism to the new life now found in the risen Lord.
The Jews had expected the Messiah to be some purely human king who would conquer the enemies of God, build the temple of god, and establish a purely human kingdom. All such dreams must come to dust; that’s what Jesus’ death and resurrection has taught Paul. The way to the true kingdom is through death, and out the other side into God’s new world.
So if we put together what he has learnt about other people and what he’s learned bout he Messiah, we get what he says in verse 17 one of the great summaries of what Christianity is all about: “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:” – the new creation he talks about is a reference to both the person concerned and to the world in which they enter, the world which, through his death has been reconciled to the creator.
What has happened in and through Christ is not a matter of God claiming a world that didn’t belong to him, or making a new one out of nothing, rather it is about God reconciling, to himself his own world, his beautiful and beloved creation, after the long years of corruption and decay.
But it goes a little further than that for us. Because we have been created and called in our discipleship to ensure that others know about the amazing cost and gift that awaits us because of this sacrifice and resurrection. We are called to life our lives in the new happening, to be the Beacon’s of this light and truth.
One of the joys and privileges I as a Deacon of God’s church get each and every Easter is to proclaim the resurrection and to carry the light of Christ in the paschal candle. I have to say I’m paying physically a little for it today, however, we all have been charged with the showing the way of light into the darkness of our world.
We are to be that glorious new way of life in our world of today. I’m always perplexed when I see people on a Sunday leaving church some what sad and down. We have an amazing faith to proclaim that says there is hope, there is light even in darkness.
Christ has paid the price of sin so that we can live lives of hope and light. So as the physical sun of today fades and night comes into being leave this place rejoicing in the new way that Christ has given us, so that all people may know that he is risen from the dead and that life forever is changed.
Alleluia Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!