Rector's Blog

Easter Message from the Rector, Rev’d Andrea Jones

Last Easter was a difficult time for all of us.  Our church doors were closed. Since then we have gone through a year like none other but there is a sense now of new beginnings. The vaccine has given us hope and the sacrifices we have made during lockdown enable us to look to opening up our lives again, albeit cautiously, and St Deiniol’s church will be open again for public worship from Palm Sunday.   Whilst we cannot journey through Holy Week with our usual traditions (social distancing isn’t going to permit foot washing obviously!) we will be together, God willing, on Easter Day.

This last year, during which our churches in Wales have been closed for long periods, has led me to reflect on how our Gospels tell the story of Christ’s death and his Resurrection. What happens in public and what happens “behind closed doors” as it were.

All four Gospels tell the Easter story in different ways but there is a lot of similarity. We are given a lot of detail about Jesus’ arrest, how he is brought before Pilate, condemned to death and then his harrowing death on the cross.  Many of his disciples fled at the end of Jesus’ life but we are told that several women stayed to witness his death and presumably it is their descriptions and that of others who stood by that made it into the Gospel narratives.

By comparison we have no witnesses to Jesus’ actual Resurrection. He was laid in the tomb and what happened is not discovered until the morning when Mary Magdalene and her companions come and find the stone rolled away.  The Resurrection happened in the dark of the night.  The event remains mysterious and without human witnesses.  But happen it did.  Mary Magdalene met the Risen Christ, mistaking him at first for the gardener and then realising it is Jesus.  

This last year we have spent quite a lot of time withdrawn from the public lives we usually lead. We have lived behind those closed doors.  Our prayer lives, especially for those living alone, have been solitary though we do give thanks for Zoom! This can be hard but it can help us deepen our discipleship too.  This pandemic has changed us and some of how it has changed us can be for the better.  It may well be that we do not recognise that yet, that we need more distance to enable us to look back at what has happened, is happening to us.  But I really believe that in this  time of being out of our church buildings, finding different ways to pray and worship, something has happened to us in the dark of the night.  It may be too early to properly look back and reflect on this pandemic – it isn’t over yet but it may be that a lot is happening  “behind the doors” and that there will be a time when we are distanced enough to look back when we realise we were able to look at ourselves and our mission afresh.

The Resurrection did not begin with a press release, or a choir of angels, or a fanfare.  Three women came to the tomb and found Jesus’ body gone. Mary Magdalene ran to tell the disciples who were themselves locked away behind doors for fear of persecution.  They were sceptical at first of this woman arriving with this unbelievable news.  If we were designing a campaign to launch “The Resurrection” I am not sure we would plan it this way!  New life, new growth in our church, will not necessarily begin with a press release, or a fanfare either.  The dawn comes gently.  But the starting point for the mission of our church is that we need; like the three women who went to the tomb; to recognise in our own lives the Risen Christ and have the courage to live out that discipleship.