And so we pass from Easter Saturday to the day of the Resurrection, from a day when the world held its breath, to the day on which the true nature of Good Friday was revealed. He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

And yet, when we examine the stories of that first Easter day we see what? We see the Apostles either puzzled or uncomprehending. How could it have been otherwise? They had not shown any great ability to understand their Master before the crucifixion, and, at least until the first Pentecost, they were no better able to do so, for the most part.

Of all the remarkable events of that first Easter day, one of the most remarkable was that it was Mary Magdalene who first recognised the Risen Lord. The unsupported word of a woman was not, in Jewish Law, admissable as testimony. Yet as so often, it was a woman who saw to the heart of things: it was the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:21-28) who persevered in faith and received her reward; it was the Samaritan woman at the well who recognised Jesus as Messiah (John 4:28-42); so it comes as no surprise that it was another woman who was the first witness to the Resurrection.

Mary Magdalene saw her Lord. Then came the Apostles, even poor Thomas, whose perfectly understandable doubts have led to that adjective being attached to his name in perpetuity. After the denials and the hiding, the men who had sought, and so often failed to understand their Lord, were faithful even unto death. That is the call of Easter day to us all. As St John Chrysostom said in his Paschal homily:

Christ is risen! And you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is risen! And the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is risen! And the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen! And life is liberated!
Christ is risen! And the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.


And what of us?

How easy it is for us to get distracted, to find faults with each other, with our Church, with other Christians. But our life IS in Christ, and perhaps, on this most holy of days we can raise our eyes to Heaven and thank Him by being with each other as He would have us be?

For many of us, perhaps for most of us, the past three years have been hard, for some, the hardest ever. We have hardly begun to calculate the bitter harvest of the illness, the deaths, the isolation, the anxiety and the grief of the past three years. But today, let us remind ourselves that in dying, Our Lord took upon Himself the sharpest sorrows of which out flesh is heir, and that, in rising, he deprived death of its sting. And, just as the icon featured above, shows Him raising our first parents, Adam and Eve, we shall rise in Him. Let is renew our faith, let us give thanks, and above all, let us celebrate this Holiest of all days.

After the long, and sometimes dry journey of Lent, we are come to the place where we need to be. After three years when celebrating the Eucharist at Church with our fellows has been either impossible or difficult, we can, once again, receive Him in bread and wine. We can, once again enjoy the fellowship to which we are called. So let us do so with His joy in our hearts.

A happy Easter to all our readers.