Rector's Letter - April 2017
Have you ever had opportunity to stand in a tomb? Possibly an offer you wouldn’t want to take up! I have – in Jerusalem, in a place called the garden tomb, which probably isn’t where Christ was laid, but is probably something very like it. I remember being struck at the time that as you entered the tomb, you faced darkness, gloom, dankness. But as you turned around, the doorway became a frame for a stream of light dancing outside. That doorway was a threshold. I imagined the women at the tomb on Easter morning, having entered it and discovered bewildering absence, turning around, and seeing early dawn breaking through the doorway. Then in the stream of light, messengers of God are glimpsed (which is what the word ‘angel’ translates as) to tell them absence and darkness do not have the last word. Everything is shot through with the presence of God and through the resurrection of Christ, new life infuses everything. And then I imagine the women crossing that threshold, into the light.
As I write this (beginning of March due to early magazine deadlines!), the sun is shining – something we haven’t seen enough of lately! The crocus and daffodils are springing up everywhere, and that hope which Spring brings feels like it is in the air. This is probably one of my favourite times of the year and I always think we are fortunate our seasons bring so much change, and that Spring coincides with the Easter season. Spring is another threshold to new life; just as Easter is the threshold to resurrection life. Spring is a wonderful symbolism of the doorway that Easter gives us into new possibilities.
Rowan Williams expresses this beautifully when he writes that on the other side of this doorway, ‘is a world drenched with light, God’s beauty shining through; yet it’s our own world we are seeing, seeing it as God made it to be, seeing ourselves as God made us to be.’ For the world is more than we have suspected it to be; and we are more than we have suspected ourselves to be. There is more to us and for us than we have imagined. Resurrection is not simply what happens when we die. It is nothing less than an invitation to be part of a new creation, and new dawn of hope and possibility and tremendous joy, a new Spring, shot through with God’s glorious light. I pray this Easter you may find whatever doorway you need, find courage to cross whatever threshold it is on which you hover, and that we all have eyes to see God’s glory shining. May I wish you a very happy Easter.
With best wishes