St.Mildred's Church, Tenterden, Kent.
Address by The Reverend Canon David G Trustram MA,
Vicar of Tenterden, at the Service on Easter morning
(all ages present together)
‘I am the Light of the World. If anyone follows me he
will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’.
In St Paul’s Cathedral in London, there is a simple inscription concerning the man who designed and built it, Sir Christopher Wren. It says, ‘If you seek his memorial, look around’. That vast edifice, his greatest architectural achievement, was considered the most fitting tribute to his life, and no further memorial was needed.
In the same way, on Easter Day, if you are seeking for the memorial of Jesus Christ, look around. If anyone is seeking some proof that Jesus was who he said he was, look around. Look around at all the people in this church today. As the Psalmist might have said, ‘young men and maidens, the old folk and the little children, here we all are together’. And in every parish church, and in every great cathedral across our secular and cynical land – and indeed across the world - there will be great gatherings today to honour Jesus Christ – his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead.
The fact that the church exists at all is a proof of the resurrection. For why on earth would eleven disillusioned men who thought of themselves as utter failures start something up unless they were convinced that Jesus Christ, whom they had seen dead on the Cross, and whom they had laid lifeless into a tomb, was alive again. The Bible tells us that over 500 people saw him, and spoke with him, and ate with him, in the six weeks that followed his death on the cross.
But it is not just the facts of history that we are celebrating today. We are celebrating the risen Jesus Christ as a living Lord who has the power to transform people’s lives – yes, in Tenterden in 2007. Jesus Christ is a living Lord, wherever you come from, in 2007. As your Vicar I am aware of so many lives where the risen Jesus has brought courage, strength, perseverance, peace and integrity, freedom goodness and joy, where those things did not exist before. Your life, my life, changed for the better, and this also is a proof and a demonstration of Christ’s resurrection.
There’s something deeper still. In our heart of hearts we know that the story of Holy Week ‘rings true’ – it is totally relevant to our human experience. Life is a mixture of struggle and delight, of pain and joy. The stark reality of death does confront us all – the death of those we love, and our own mortality. And none of us comes to this Easter morning totally free of sadness or sorrow or anxiety. And yet we find here something bigger, something greater, something more important and powerful. We find here the doorway that leads to a hope that can never be extinguished, and to a joy that can never be destroyed.
Jesus enables us to believe that, even if things go wrong, and there are great tragedies in life, love is still the last word - stronger than hatred: forgiveness more powerful than revenge.
If this message is true, and if this message is important, and if we are living in a world that is in desperate need of hope (and I think all those three “ifs” are true), one last question arises for each of us this morning. Is there something new in me today? Is there some new life within me that I can offer in His service? Is there some greater commitment that I can give to Him, in tribute to his love, and in service of His world?
Look around on this Easter morning – look at each other, and look into your own heart and hear his words, ‘anyone who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’.
Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more.
Death hath no more dominion over him.
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This page published by Nick Hudd 16th April 2007