An Easter Message

Added about 7 years ago by Michael Sadgrove

A very happy Easter to all our readers and authors from everyone from Sacristy Press!

As our Easter gift to you, here’s an extract from a poignant Easter sermon by Michael Sadgrove, Dean Emeritus of Durham Cathedral, which can be found in full in his book Christ in a Choppie Box: Sermons from North East England

Happy Easter from Sacristy Press

Easter answers our longings and desires. It does this by both changing how things were, and transforming our view of them. We would not be here if we didn’t believe that something infinitely life-changing took place on Easter morning when the women went to the tomb and found the stone rolled away and the grave space empty. There is no getting away from this singularity in history. “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here”, say the two men in the garden. A real absence, indeed, but a vacuum that gives the women what they most need: permission to dare to entertain the possibility that all was not as it seemed, that they were in the presence of the most profound of mysteries that nevertheless had the capacity to turn round despair. “He is risen. Remember how he told you.” Here is where fantasy meets reality, where longing is transmuted into hope. The women begin to see reality differently. We begin to. The world is a different place. The garden has flowers. There is blue sky above our heads. The earth begins to warm. At last it is spring. Everything changes. 

Of course, all this is to collapse a long disclosure and its realisation into a few moments. Luke himself keeps us in suspense here: the disciples did not believe the women at first. The two who walked the Emmaus Road with the unknown stranger did not recognise him: there was a journey to make, not simply along a dusty cratered near-eastern cart track, but an inward journey of the soul to bring springtime to their bleakness, coax their frozen spirits back into life. The important thing is: there is disclosure. There is a new world. Winter has fled, and with it its gloomy shadows and oppressive captivity. He is risen. 

St Augustine has a beautiful passage in a commentary on the feeding of the crowd where he speaks about our human longings and hungers. “Give me a lover: a lover will feel what I am speaking of; give me one who longs, who hungers, who is a thirsty pilgrim in this wilderness, sighing for the springs of his eternal homeland; give me such a person, for they will know what I mean.” He might have added: give me one who is longing for spring, yearning to be rid of burdens, tired of this endless Narnian winter, weary in themselves, weary for our globe that strives to find some hope as it struggles under the weight of unhealed conflict, sorrow and pain. 

If this echoes your experience, then come to the risen Lord today. Sit down at his Easter feast. Eat bread and drink wine. Find your healing and refreshment in him; be glad that he is among us as our beloved brother, who was lost in his death but found in his resurrection, who opens up the way home for all people and welcomes us to celebrate here in his Father’s house. For here, at least, “the winter is past, the flowers appear on the earth, and the time of singing has come. Arise my love, my fair one, and come away.” 

Michael Sadgrove’s collection of sermons, Christ in a Choppie Block: Sermons from North East England, is available in our online shop. 

Please note: Sacristy Press does not necessarily share or endorse the views of the guest contributors to this blog.

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