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  • Fr Daniel

Easter Day - Jesus the 'New Life'

We sing along/listen to:

The prayers and readings can be found here:

Easter Day 2021
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We sing along/listen to:

‘I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord’. Words from the Psalm.

Alleluia, Christ is Risen!

He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

O Beauty ever ancient and ever new, late have I loved you!

I shall not die, but live… I shall not die, but live…

Life is what Easter is all about. Rising to new life is at the heart of our faith. And that is what we come here to celebrate today, on this Easter morning, after a year like no other, a year of death, suffering and pain, we come to do what no other can do – to claim life – his life, his resurrection life, the new and eternal life he offers. I shall not die, but live.

That’s the basis of why we gather here on Easter Day, that’s the basis of our gathering every Sunday, to experience life in all its fullness, won by his resurrection. And yet, we go back, this morning, to the first Easter. You can just imagine the scene: Mary Magdalene, ambling along, downcast, as she prepares to see the body of the Lord – and then the sheer shock and horror on discovering the stone rolled away. She runs back to the disciples and recalls the vision that had crossed her eyes. And they go in haste to see this news for themselves.

And so it was: Peter enters the tomb with courage, but confusion. The beloved disciple, John enters the tomb belatedly, but with belief. He saw and he believed. He knew, in the words of our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, that ‘all the prophets testify about him’. The prophets testify that he ‘was buried and then raised on the third day’. This John knew. He knew that the prophets’ words were true and that their promises had been realised in this Jesus of Nazareth.

That is where we began last week, on Palm Sunday. We thought about Jesus as the new prophet. The ancient prophets called people back to the way of God and to his truth, to life with him. Easter Day reveals Christ the new prophet, who is himself both the way, the truth and now the new life.

On Monday, Jesus was revealed as the new priest. The role of the ancient priest was to offer the sacrifice to obtain redemption and communion with God. Easter Day reveals Christ as the new priest, who both offers the sacrifice and obtains redemption, which gives us new life.

On Tuesday, Jesus was revealed as the new light. The ancient understanding of light was that of the light of the menorah, in the Temple, indicating God’s presence. Easter Day reveals Christ as the new light, God in human flesh, piercing the darkness of sin and death, and which gives us new life.

On Wednesday, Jesus was revealed as the new deliverer. The ancient deliverers of the past mediated between God and his people to secure their release and restoration, and so Jesus, as he is delivered into the hands of sinners. Easter Day reveals Christ as the new deliverer, given up to sinners for our deliverance from death, which gives us new life.

On Thursday, Jesus was revealed as the new Lamb. The ancient Passover lamb, sacrificed, his blood outpoured and his flesh eaten to make present the ancient deliverance won by God for his people, and so renew his covenant with them. Easter Day reveals Jesus now as the new Passover Lamb, in the sacrament of his body and blood, which gives us new life.

On Friday, Jesus was revealed as the new Temple. The ancient Temple was the very dwelling place of God, his glory and power hidden in the inner sanctum of the temple, the holy of holies, the place where the Lambs were slaughtered to bring God’s peace. Easter Day reveals Jesus the new Temple, the new and definitive place of God’s eternal presence where he will dwell forever, this temple, and this temple alone, gives us new life.

On Saturday, Jesus was revealed as the new Lord. The ancient Lord, God himself, gave victory to his people as they escaped Egypt, vanquishing oppression, swallowing captivity and destroying death. Easter Day reveals Jesus as the same ancient Lord who does a new marvellous work, he is the Lord of new life.

Today, Jesus speaks to the disciples, to Peter, entering the tomb courageously but left confused to John who enters belatedly but believes, joining the dots of the week. And Mary, so overcome with grief, that she fails to realise who is right in front of her. The empty tomb the men behold, and this man she sees before her is nothing other than the new life.

Christ’s beauty is ever ancient and ever new. That beauty loves us perfectly, and asks us who have loved him so imperfectly: do you want me to be your Lord over death? Do you want me to be your Temple, giving access to the Father? Do you want me to be your Lamb bringing peace? Do you want me to be your deliverer, freeing you from sin? Do you want me to be your light, overcoming the darkness? Do you want me to be your priest, restoring you to God? Do you want me to be your prophet, speaking God’s mercy and his truth?

Christ offers you all those things today, all of those things that contain and point to new life, for that life, that new life is his by his resurrection. He offers it to you: he calls you by name, as he did Mary, and today asks, (congregation names): do you want my life?

Believe. Believe and say yes to this new life, love the Lord, for then you can truly say:

‘I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord… ever ancient, ever new!’

Alleluia, Christ is Risen!

We sing along/listen to:

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