I look back, back through Eastertide, back through the appearances of the Risen Christ– in a quiet garden, in a tucked-away room, on the road to Emmaus, in breaking of bread, the sharing of wine and at the water’s edge.
In them I hear the echoes of my own special places and moments when God’s peace and presence have drawn close.
In a Quiet Garden – during this glorious spring, after a lockdown day of working from home, I step into the garden and sink into a deck chair, I gaze at the sky, at the opening buds, at the spring blossom. I listen to bird song, I tune into music. Stresses and strains are eased away, sometimes with sighs too deep for words. A deep peace trickles its way through my being. It feels like the Risen Christ at work to touch and to heal.
In a Tucked-Away Room – “work from home” office packed away for Maundy Thursday, time set aside for the high points of Holy Week: a Chrism Mass from the Diocese of Southwark, the Divine Office chanted by Worth Abbey monks and spoken by the clergy of St Elisabeth’s Reddish… moved to tears as the depths of my being are reawakened by the touch of God, by the gaze of Christ.
On the road to Emmaus – swept back over thirty years –weighed down with huge burdens of my failings as I travel alone through France, but those burdens suddenly lifting, vanishing far, far away as I climb into the heights of the Massif Central one glorious July afternoon. Such peace – such contentment – such knowledge of God’s forgiveness.
Breaking Bread and Sharing Wine – Maundy Thursday evening, a lockdown service about to begin, “Facebook live notices” popping up from Manchester, from Mirfield, from London, the world coming together to celebrate this incredible gift. I’m overwhelmed with joy and gratitude – caught up into the mystery of the flow of God’s Love throughout humanity.
By the Water’s Edge – St Cuthbert’s Isle, Lindisfarne, from Easter back to Epiphany, watching the sun go down over the tidal waters. Lying down on the bench, feeling the wind, hearing the waves. God coming close, washing my insides aching like worn-out feet, putting (literally) a new song in my heart – “Hail Gladdening Light…”.
Alleluia! Christ is Risen. He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia !
Thank you to Fr Mark Chilcott for writing for us this special and inspirational reflection on Easter in his life.