Earth began in a garden. It was in another garden on that first Easter Day that Earth’s New Dawn took place. It has changed everything.
Our own church garden is a quiet oasis away from the modern stress of life. The low early morning sun casts shadows and lights up the distant churchyard trees. The 600 year-old yew stands guard near the entrance to the church which was recently refurbished in Sussex stone. Churchyards are so often havens for wildlife as well as people. The ancient yew is a roosting place for many birds at night. This is ‘God’s acre’, a place of peace in a disturbed and noisy world.
Christ hath took in this piece of ground,From ‘Sunday’ by George Herbert
And made a garden there for those
Who want herbs for their wound.
This is also a place to find comfort for tears and sorrows shared with the ‘Man of Sorrows’, Jesus, who brings peace, joy and the hope of rising again with him in everlasting life.
Easter Saturday is a pause after the sorrow and grief of Good Friday – a thoughtful time of waiting. We think of those faithful women who had stayed at the cross and who, now that the Sabbath was over, prepared spices and ointment to anoint the body of their beloved Lord. Today in this church garden there will be relatives putting flowers on the graves of recent loved ones. Inside the church, a band of church members will be busy decorating the church for Easter. On this coming special day we say what we feel with flowers.
Wild primroses are one of everyone’s favourites. In Devon they are called ‘The Darling of Spring’. They are the smell of a church decorated for Easter Sunday, traditionally with bunches of primroses on the ends of each pew. Sadly, these beauties are becoming rare in our countryside.
On that first Easter morning the first disciples found peace instead of fear, relief from sorrow, and a joy waiting to be discovered that was so wonderful, as if too good to be true. Mary Magdalene and the women were the first to see the risen Jesus for themselves, then Peter and the two on the Emmaus road, followed by the rest of the 11, including Thomas. Later, on the road to Damascus, they were even joined by the enemy of the Christians, Saul of Tarsus, soon to be renamed Paul. In his first letter to Corinth Paul mentions another 500 who saw Jesus alive before his Ascension.
Earth’s New Dawn
It was this small band of disciples whom Jesus sent out to carry on his work and bring the news of the Kingdom of God to the whole world. A daunting task, yet, by the third century AD the Roman empire became officially Christian. How did they succeed? By the power of God and through their vibrant faith and lifestyle:
It was a blessed and glorious age the Primitive Christians lived in….when the blood of Christ was yet warm, and the memory of his miracles and love were fresh and vigorous; what zeal, what powerful faith, what perfect charity, hearty humility, and true kindness was there then to be found on the earth?”Henry Vaughan
How do we recapture the vibrancy of that early church. One way is to look again at the Good Friday/ Easter story with new eyes, as the actors are doing in the immensely popular crowd-funded film series ‘The Chosen‘. Along with many others I have been finding this film deeply moving. Try it for yourself:
The Pasque flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris – is linked with Passover/Easter. Like the primrose, in the wild it is a rarity only found in a few places. A plant of great beauty, these beautiful flowers nod gracefully at the path edge welcoming visitors to our front door.
Wishing you a happy Easter, full of fresh discoveries about Jesus. Thank you for following my blog. I much appreciate your company.
Next time – With G.M.Hopkins in the richness of Spring
2 thoughts on “Easter Dawn”
Thank you for this lovely post, Richard. I have recently discovered The Chosen, seen a few excerpts and have down-loaded it though not watched it yet. A very happy Easter to you and your family. Clare
Thank you, Clare. Everyone should look at The Chosen. I find its down-to-earth simple style accurate to the Bible text and very inspiring. So much better than some of the grand Hollywood religious blockbusters with all their glitz and glamour, playing fast- and-loose with the Scripture account. A very blessed Easter to you, your family and church friends.
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