Watching for the Kingfisher at Easter Benediction

Here is an edited summary of the address given by Fr Ian at Benediction on Easter Day at the end of the Easter Triduum, St Chrysostom’s 2019

Abbey Bridge by William Callow

In my late teens I stood at the Abbey Bridge, Barnard Castle, looking down at the beautiful scene of the River Tees flowing through the woods below. It is a special place and indeed the Tees in that area has been described in poetry by Sir Walter Scott and painted by Turner.

I stood in the tranquillity simply looking down at the river below. Suddenly, unexpectedly, there was a flash of blue, a flash of brightness as a kingfisher darted to the river for a fish. It was a special moment, I have never forgotten it.

A few years later, as a student in Birmingham I went to Benediction on Easter Day, this service, at the church I usually attended, that great Anglo Catholic shrine St Alban’s, Conybeare Street. The vicar, Fr Harding, was a striking priest with a forthright  and uncompromising Anglo Catholic manner of preaching. He took for his text at the service “The angel rolled back the stone and sat on it” (Matthew 28.2). Fr Harding told us that on an Easter Day evening he had great sympathy with the angel – he just wanted to sit down and rest. He invite us there, at that worship to pause, to sit in wonder to rest in the beauty of God.

Pause at the threshold
Of the sacred space;
Bow low.
Prepare for fresh
With the Holy One.
(Ann Lewin 'Entrance')

This evening, after the wonderful liturgies we have celebrated, after the work and worship of these special Three Days, we pause. Here, as the angel did, we sit. We create, enter and rest in a sacred space of wonder, expectancy and silence.

Prayer is like watching for the
Kingfisher. All you can do is
Be where he is likely to appear, and 
Often, nothing much happens;
There is space, silence and
No visible sign, only the
Knowledge that he's been there, And may come again.
Seeing or not seeing cease to matter,
You have been prepared.
But sometimes, when you've almost
Stopped expecting it,
A flash of brightness
Gives encouragement.
(Ann Lewin 'Disclosure')

About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
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