Fr. John’s Easter Message 2018
Dear St. James Community,
The cliffhanger is almost answered. In my Easter letter last year, I mentioned the April snowstorm we had all just experienced which had occurred on April 1. I wrote, “it cannot do this next year as April 1, 2018 is Easter Day.” I love snow but it just does not fit together as well with Easter as it does with Christmas. As of writing this letter the forecast for Sunday is clear. . .we will see. . .
As I mused about spring in my Easter letter last year, I mentioned a picture of my sister Emily on Easter Day from the early 1990’s. It was a warm spring day and signs of spring were already bursting forth as evidenced in the picture. My mentor read this letter and said to me that, “indeed Easter is about new life but imagine Easter against a different backdrop. Imagine Easter against the backdrop of Fall as this is how our sisters and brothers experience Easter in the southern hemisphere, and what that says to us and our ideas that Easter is sometimes synonymous with spring.”
Easter proclaiming new life is wonderfully happening for us in Massachusetts as we begin to leave winter behind. For our friends in the southern hemisphere, however, it is early Fall leading into the barrenness of winter, and yet these Christians are also preparing to celebrate the Easter feast. When we look at these celebrations, the celebrations of Easter in the northern hemisphere as we enter spring and the southern hemisphere as they enter fall I feel we do indeed come to a marvelous picture of Easter hope.
Whether entering the light of summer or the darkness of winter, the love of God is alive everywhere and filling our lives, as each of us prepares to celebrate Easter, our Queen Feast. We see new life around us as Easter breaks here and as it breaks in the southern hemisphere our friends there know that new life will come again even as they experience falling leaves and the coming of cold weather. The grace of Easter shown in the dichotomy of north and south, perhaps what my mentor was hinting at, is the reminder that Easter has happened and fills our lives always, no matter what time of year it is and by the same token no matter what is happening in our lives. While we celebrate Easter this Sunday, it is a celebration that has no end reminding us Christ’s Risen presence is in our lives always, guiding, refreshing, comforting, holding, loving, saving.
We celebrate Easter differently in parts of our country and in our world, at the beach, in the warmth of the springtime sun, in the chill of newly fallen leaves, or perhaps around the fireplace. Different celebrations, different places but the same truth, Christ is alive and dies no more. Christ has conquered sin, broken death and opened paradise to us all. Paradise, which is in His loving embrace forever, an embrace He offered to all when He stretched out His arms of love on the hard wood of the cross showing there was nothing He wouldn’t endure to save us, His beautiful creation.
Happy Easter my friends. I look forward to welcoming you at the services during the remainder of the week and greeting you all on Easter Day. Safe travels to all those
leaving town and please know you and your loved ones remain always in my thoughts and prayers. A Blessed Eastertide to all, north and south.
Yours In Christ
Fr. John’s Sermons