My favourite part of the Easter vigil is the liturgy of the Word…Here’s a short recap…
My head is full of the riches of our Easter vigil. It’s my favourite liturgy of the year, I love how it ties everything together, laying out the story of our salvation in word, action and sacrament. I find myself revisiting it over and over during Eastertide, allowing different aspects of it to enrich and nourish me. Today, This morning I’m reflecting on this from an Easter hymn by St John of Damascus:
“Let us rise in early morning
and instead of ointment bring
Hymns and praises to our Master
And his resurrection sing.”
I’m touched by the wisdom that it has carried through the centuries, passed from one generation of Christians to another, sometimes lost and forgotten, only to be rediscovered and valued anew.
It’s a call to sing the praises of the Risen Christ continually, whatever we are living through, whatever the prevailing view of our society. Nothing can separate us from his love, and nothing can undo the wonderful and mysterious reality of his resurrection.
However challenging or uncertain life is, he will be there inviting us to go out to meet him. Each year the challenges we face seem to become more daunting, leaving us more aware of our fragility. Yet however difficult our lives are, the risen Christ is there calling us. He invites us to follow Mary of Magdala out into the dark of the early morning to meet him, to rejoice in his presence and to carry his love to our needy world.
As we begin to move through Eastertide where is the Risen Christ inviting you to go out and meet him?
One of the things that strikes me every year is how much darkness there is in the Easter gospels. It’s there in all the gospel accounts. I’m always struck by it in the beginning of John’s account as we hear it sung in a still dark chapel at the Easter vigil:
“It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb.”
I often have those words in my mind as we wait by the fire for the Paschal candle to be blest and lit. It’s such a tiny light glimmering in the deep dark before dawn, yet it allows us to proclaim “Christ our light”. It’s always a poignant and moving part of our Easter liturgy.
It was particularly so this year as the suffering of war added to the aftermath of pandemic makes the darkness seem very real and very deep. I keep finding myself thinking back to Mary setting out, grieving and afraid, on that dark early morning, thinking she had lost everything and having no idea how her life was about to be changed.
We are also living through dark, frightening and uncertain times that increase our sense of vulnerability in a way that echoes Mary’s dark and lonely walk. Yet, however deep the darkness the light of Risen Christ still shines and cannot be overpowered. However small that light might seem it accompanies us as we walk through these challenging and dark times, offering us new life and hope.
Where is the risen Christ bringing light into your darkness this Easter morning?