Holy Week as a Priest: Easter Day

4.58am

Early in the morning, on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary went to the tomb.

When she got there, she found that the tomb was open and empty, apart from neatly folded graveclothes.

She ran back to tell the others. Peter and another went to see if it was true: it was, the grave was empty. They went home.

But Mary, who had followed behind, stood there weeping.

Woman, why do you cry?’ Asked a man, presumably a gardener.

‘Sir, if you have moved him, tell me where he is and I will care for him’

‘Mary’ he said.

As he said her name, her eyes were opened.

‘Teacher!’ she exclaimed, and ran towards him, joy and utter amazement in her eyes and in her heart.

5.44am

It really is very early. But the birds are singing, the fire is lit and the service is about to start.

6.30am

I do love any service where there is food involved!

What a gorgeous way to start the day.

8.29am

I’m at home now, ready to go to St Michael’s. I came back and made Nathan a bacon buttie. I felt guilty having had two when he had had none!

I’m just taking a few moments to be quiet and reflect on the service this morning. There is something about Easter Day which just beats all others. Somehow, the darkness slides away, gently being replaced by glorious and yet gentle sunlight. I loved listening to the birds singing and the fire crackling at the sunrise service. I felt incredibly still and peaceful.

9.17am

St Michael’s is looking gorgeous with all the Easter decorations up!

I was stood outside church saying ‘hello’ to people as they came in when my Dad walked up, said ‘peace be with you’, and put a wrapped up hashbrown in my hand! What a legend! And yes, that does mean I’ve consumed 4 things from Macdonalds in the 5 days it’s been open!

10.45am

A beautiful service at St Michael’s but there’s no time for tea because I’m off to Holy Trinity to preside!

12.45pm

Aaaaaand I’m finished!

He is risen, alleluia!

7.11pm

Wow!

What. A. Day!

We’ve just said goodbye to our family who came to see us today. Polly & Martin have gone to Warrington, Granny, Gandpa & Isabelle are on their way to Wales, and Mum & Dad are heading over the hills to Retford.

After the services we all went for lunch and we’ve had a lovely afternoon relaxing in the garden, enjoying copious amounts of cake!

It has been a super day.

At 1am this morning I couldn’t sleep and I was reminded of an idea that had been at the back of my mind for some time. That idea was to celebrate with champagne at communion on Easter Day. Easter is the ultimate celebration and this is my first Easter as a Priest. What better way than to celebrate with champagne?! I knew that we had several bottles in the house and soon my mind was whirring with thoughts about how it could work. This morning, I checked with the vicar and decided to do it.

So today we had champagne at communion instead of wine.

Once I explained why, people seemed to really get on board with it and definitely enjoyed the change! At Holy Trinity, Mark even got the cork to fly over the heads of the congregation and someone caught it! I added Chambord so that it looked a bit more like the amber red colour we usually use.

Today we have celebrated. In the liturgical, spiritual and literal senses, we have celebrated. Jesus was born into a dark world in order that light could shine. He grew, cried, laughed, got grazed knees from climbing trees, explored the world, learned a trade, made friends, ate, drank and enjoyed himself like everyone else. He taught and healed and preached. He challenged people and then eventually they killed him. But he came back to life. He was different, he was God. His followers believed, the church was born, and the rest, as they say, is history. He is still with us now through his spirit.

Today we celebrated because the thing that makes Jesus different is what happened on Easter Day. Today is what it all hangs on! So we celebrated and we had champagne. It was delightful.

The thing is: this stuff is real. It all really happened. He was born. He lived. He died. He rose again. And that, my friends, is worth celebrating. More than that, it’s worth giving your life to.

So, as I sit hear enjoying a slice of my mother-in-law’s delicious chocolate cake, I’m feeling deeply content. I’m pleased with how this week has gone. I’m excited for whatever lies ahead. But more than anything, I’m ready for a good long sleep.

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