A very happy Easter to you all. This is a short précis of what I said on Sunday.
Matt Harding has released a YouTube clip called Dancing. It shows him first alone, doing a weird little dance, flitting from scene to scene in different locations all over the world. Just as you begin to tire of it, he is joined by crowds of people who join in the dance. He dances in Tel Aviv and he dances on the West Bank; he dances with whales and he dances in freefall. It is an insignificant little film, but charming and fun, symbolic of the spread of something from the one to a few, to bless the whole world.
On that first Easter Sunday morning a few women received the astounding news that Jesus is risen. They were not expecting this; they thought they were going to complete the funeral rites for their deceased master. They heard the news from the angels and they believed it, but then they also met Jesus for themselves; they heard the good news but they also had a personal encounter with Jesus.
Each of us has to marry up the objective proofs about the resurrection that we find in scripture and the tradition with a personal encounter for ourselves.
We use the image of lights shining in the darkness. Here in the church we light a big candle to symbolise the presence of Jesus among us as we worship, and today we are encouraged to take home a small light for each household, to celebrate the presence of Christ in our roads and streets. As we light the candles each week, we encourage each other to show God’s love, and to pray for our neighbours and the residents where we live.