I've been thinking about blogging for a week or so since I returned from my Post-Easter break, but to be honest have either been short of time or energy to make it happen. I have kept up the twittering, until today, but the idea of sitting down and making order from my thoughts has been somewhat beyond me!
I didn't really talk about Easter Day itself in my last post, which was a great day and at which many good things happened. It wasn't any easy day, though, and a couple of conversations (nothing to do with Easter itself) which took place meant I felt very much that the 'honeymoon' which goes with the first few months of being in a new parish or, in this case,Mission Community was very much over. But more of that in a mo
We started Easter Day overlooking the stunning Devon Countryside from the top of a hill on which stands the Armada Beacon - the warning beacon used many years ago as part of a series of beacon fires to warn of impending invasion by sea. The beacon keepers hut is a small stone building which bears a passing resemblance to the empty tomb and is an ideal place to start Easter Day, so we sang and praised and heard the Bible account of the resurrection on the top of a hill which overlooked stunning valleys at 7am on Easter Day.
My next service was a 9.30am Holy Communion, a great opportunity to celebrate the Church's greatest feast, and it took place at a Church I didn't get to celebrate a Christmas Communion in, a Church so busy that I was late setting off to the next service. The 11am service was equally busy, and a lively Holy Communion during which the young people went to the garden of the Old Vicarage next door and had an Easter Egg hunt, joining us again for the Communion itself. Following the service I had a rather involved conversation with someone who, shall we say, holds different views to me about a number of issues, and from whose conversation I found it difficult to extricate myself. It didn't help that this person's involvement had caused a relatively benign situation in one of the parishes to become something of a headache. But the details aren't important, it just struck me that even on such a great feast day things weren't terribly easy, and (probably rightly) I wasn't getting away with an easy ride - if there are difficult situations they need to be dealt with! I should say that this person I find very likeable, and on many issues we would agree - I like this person, but I was frustrated at the difficulties that had arisen around a particular issue in which they were involved.
Following these services I took Communion to someone unable to get to church, a tremendous privilege and a deeply moving short service. It went a long way to gathering my frayed nerves.
On returning home - having been out for about seven hours - I found myself involved in an email conversation about an important issue, which made me think hard about a particular congregation and my desire to keep them united in love and service, but left me wondering exactly how that can be achieved.
So my Easter day had highs and lows. Of course at its heart it was filled with the joy of the Resurrection and the life and love which permeates these Church fellowship, but also contained reminders that the culture of the Church is sometimes difficult and those of us called to ministry are called to hold together the joys and disappointments in our communities.
I am comforted by the image of the risen Christ showing his scarred hands and feet to the disciples. In the midst of resurrection are those reminders of the pain and brokenness which comes from sin and death.