Benefice Newsletter for Sunday 4th April – Easter Sunday

Message from The Rector

We have arrived at what is known as the ‘Paschal Triduum’ – the three days that, together, form the most holy time of the church year. Strictly speaking, the triduum spans the period from the evening of Maundy Thursday to the evening of Easter Day and during that time we journey with Christ through his time of trial, his crucifixion, the ‘empty day’ that we should really call Holy Saturday (it isn’t Easter quite yet) and then the greatest feast-day of all, Easter Day. We will mark the events as best we can during these (hopefully) final days of restriction. We aren’t allowed to gather for walks of witness on Good Friday and we aren’t allowed to gather on the beach on Easter Day but there is plenty that we still can do. Here’s a summary of what is planned.

Thursday April 1st (Maundy Thursday) 7.00pm
Online service of Holy Communion will be on the benefice YouTube channel, ending with the solemn stripping of the altar.

Friday April 2nd (Good Friday)
10.00am Zoom Good Friday Service from Friston 
Links are further down this pew sheet

Midday – 3pm Aldeburgh church open – quiet service for the Last Three Hours

Sunday April 4th (Easter Day)
6.30am Dawn Service in Aldeburgh churchyard (wrap up warm – I promise that the service won’t be too long!)

9.30am Holy Communion service in Knodishall church

9.45am Holy Communion service in Friston church
Live streaming on Zoom
Links are further down this pew sheet

10.30am Holy Communion service in Aldeburgh church
Online service of Holy Communion will be on the
benefice YouTube channel from 3pm.

11.00am Holy Communion service in Aldringham church

It is tempting to dwell on what we cannot do but if we turn the other cheek and look at what is possible, we will, I hope, still be able to journey with Jesus from the darkest of times to the most joyful. And I suspect that Easter Day in our churches will feel very special indeed this year. Even if we can’t sing, we can still celebrate – and we will!

With love – and (when it comes) Easter Greetings


Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ,
may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit
be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity.

First Reading
Isaiah 25.6-9
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear. 
And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death for ever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.  It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God;
we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Second Reading
Acts 10.34-43 
Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’


Gospel Reading
John 20.1-18
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Sermon for 4th April – Easter Day,
by The Revd James Marston

May I speak in the name of the living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit

In the words of the psalmist: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” 1

Easter Sunday 2021 is, it seems to me, cause for a double celebration. Not only is it Easter – the biggest feast of the church’s year which marks the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ – but also the re-convening and re-formation of our church.

Alongside the gradual reopening of our society, we are back together again once more. It has been a long and somewhat arduous journey for us all, and one which we hope we won’t have to repeat, and today marks not only the end of that journey but something of a new beginning for us all heralded, of course, by the renewed life of spring that we cannot fail to notice around us.  Today, this morning, is one we can all be grateful for and a reason for the joy in our hearts.

In the salad days of my youth, I cannot profess to being much of a sportsman. I didn’t really understand the point of team games let alone things tortuous such as athletics or the ghastly long jump. Indeed, as a schoolboy, my sports master once took me aside to suggest that “Not everyone is a front runner, James, would like you like to fire the starting pistol instead.”

Indeed, beyond the flat season at Newmarket, sport is not something about which I often express much enthusiasm. I am built for comfort not speed.

So, I can’t help noticing that in today’s Gospel reading, and in the other accounts of the resurrection, there’s quite a bit of running isn’t there?

On the discovery of the removal of the stone, Mary Magdalene hot foots it to the disciples, I suspect as a result of her distress at the thought of the stolen body of Jesus. Peter and the beloved disciple also get running to find out what’s been going on. Indeed, they run together, and John includes the detail that the beloved disciple gets there first, perhaps he was younger and lighter on his feet.

This running around depicts something of the confusion, perhaps even panic, experienced by these witnesses as the events of the resurrection unfurl. It can also be used as a metaphor for our faith – do we run anymore about anything regarding our faith, or have we slowed way down?

We hear from the Gospel accounts, that following the death of Jesus and the unimaginable horrors of the crucifixion, that Christ appears to them, though they don’t always recognise him immediately.

Indeed, in John’s account the recognition of Jesus by Mary comes aurally not visually from the moment he mentions her name. Begging the observation, of course, that our Lord may communicate with us in ways we might not expect or which we might find surprising, or which we sometimes fail to notice.

Nonetheless, the result of the resurrection, in those early days, is that the followers of Jesus were utterly compelled to come out of hiding and risk their own lives to tell others of what they had experienced and share the joy of faith.

Whatever the resurrection was, and it often strikes me as something of a mystery that is hard to pin down in human words, it was life changing and transformative for those who believed.

And it remains the case today, the resurrection is still life changing and transformative. The resurrected Christ has not gone away. And from those first confused and unsure witnesses to the rest of the disciples to St Paul onwards, over the last 2,000 years countless numbers of people have experienced and know the presence of Jesus in their lives. And that is also what we are celebrating today, and as Christians we are no less compelled to retell the story share the faith and hold on to the hope of salvation and eternal life.

As we come together again and pray the ancient thanksgiving of the Eucharist, I am reminded that not only are we together once again, but that Jesus is here among us once more. In the bread and wine of communion, in each other, in the Body of Christ that makes up this worshipping community in this place, the resurrected Christ is present.

It seems to me that Easter Sunday, perhaps this year more than ever, is the firing pistol we may sometimes need to reenergise and reinvigorate our faith.

Not least because it is a reminder not only of our own resurrection as a worshipping community but of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that extraordinary event on which our faith is based, and for which we must thank again and again almighty God.

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”2


1 & 2 Psalm 118v24


Post Communion
God of Life, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son 
to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection
have delivered us from the power of our enemy:
grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore l
ive with him in the joy of his risen life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Week Ahead
Next Sunday 11th April
The Second Sunday of Easter