The Angel sat on it

The Angel rolled back the stone and sat on it… (Matthew 28.2)

Every Easter I remember the time when, as an undergraduate student, I went to Benediction on Easter Day at St Alban’s, Conybeare Street in Birmingham. A great and inspiring Anglo Catholic church.

That evening the parish priest, Fr Laurence Harding, spoke simply and light heartedly on this text from Mathew’s Gospel. He encouraged us to think of the Angel exhausted by the effort of that day, having a rest, contemplating the events, and sitting on the stone.

It’s a lovely thought! It encourages me at the end of all the great liturgies  to remember that the Paschal Triduum (the Great Three Days) doesn’t end with Mass on Easter Day, but rather with Vespers on the day. It’s important and good to pause on the evening of Easter Day and rest and contemplate as the good Fr Harding encouraged me to do so many years ago.

We’re so fortunate at St Chrysostom’s to end the Triduum with the small, quiet and peaceful service of Easter Day Vespers – Benediction and Maria Consolata at 5pm. Like Fr Harding’s angel, we sit and rest after the exertions of the day. We have peace and stillness in front of Our Lord in the monstrance, and give thanks and offer prayer. We especially, at this intimate moment, offer gentle heartfelt prayer for those close to our hearts at church – and there were several this year at church. We pray too for dear ones who have died as we hold them in Easter faith and hope.

Finally we move to Our Lady’s statue, share flowers and place them at the statue.

We rejoice with Our Lady as we recall her joy that her son, whose dead body she had held in her arms, is now risen.

Our prayers join with those of the whole church and with Mary’s in this moment of joy, peace and consolation.

Fr Ian

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About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community where people of differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2364267899/
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