WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY EASTER
Sunday 12th April Easter Day
Message from The Rector
To say that Easter Day will be a bit different this year is, to say the least, an understatement. Not to be able to be together, not to be able to celebrate the greatest Christian festival with friends and lots of guests, as we usually do, is heart-breaking. We need to remember, though, that whatever the world throws at us we can be absolutely confident of Easter’s message.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!
If you are able to join us online at 10.30 you will be very welcome – and you might like to have a bell of some sort (or at least something with which to make a noise) handy.
Plans are beginning to be formulated as to how we might continue to worship together online during the rest of Eastertide and beyond. Before we look forward, I’d like to look back over the last week and give hearty thanks to, firstly, my clergy colleagues for their contributions to our Holy Week services. Their bible-reflections have been thoughtful, inspiring and a joy to read out. Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to thank our administrator, Claire Turner, who has worked way over and above the call of duty to circulate pew-sheets and orders of service to you all and, together with her husband Jamie, rescue me when I have had technical problems with the online services. I’m sure you will agree that ‘every church should have one’ – thank you Claire!
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.
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 live with him in the joy of his risen life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
At that time, says the Lord, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. Thus says the Lord: The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you. Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall take your tambourines, and go forth in the dance of the merrymakers. Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall enjoy the fruit. For there shall be a day when sentinels will call in the hill country of Ephraim: ‘Come, let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.’
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.’
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 by The Rector, Revd Mark Lowther
Acts 10: 34-43
John 20: 1-18
God be in our mouths and in our speaking. God be in our ears and in our hearing. God be in our heads and in our understanding. Amen.
Most of us, most of the time, are most comfortable when we feel that we’re in control of our lives. It’s good, isn’t it, to have some sense of what the day ahead might hold – and then we can cope better with the occasional surprise. Well I don’t know about you but at the moment I feel totally out of control. I don’t know what each day will bring and I wake up to the Today Programme news with a real sense of trepidation – what might have happened overnight? What will happen today? What will we learn today? What decisions will be taken on our behalf, for better or worse, that will change the way we live our lives? It’s frightening, unsettling, outside any idea we might have of ‘normal’.
Now, put yourself in the position of one of Jesus’s closest friends, 2000 years ago. This extraordinary man had totally transformed your life – in the best possible way. He’d taught you more about life, about God and about yourself than you could ever possibly have imagined. And you loved him in a way that you’d never loved another human being before. And then – he was killed. Tried on a trumped-up charge, tortured and killed, before your very eyes. You’d stood right next to that cross, that simple but horrifying instrument of torture, and heard him breath his last. What was that he said? ‘It is finished.’ Well, that’s that then, isn’t it? All your hopes, all your dreams dashed. Sure, he’d sometimes said something about ‘rising again’ but you had no idea what he meant. I mean, if you’re dead, you’re dead, aren’t you? What did he mean when he said “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again”? Beyond me!
Those words are from Mark’s gospel, but something like them appear in Matthew and Luke too. And you can well imagine just how strange they must have sounded. Peter even took Jesus aside and tried to tell him off – ‘God forbid it, Lord. This must never happen to you!’ For the most part we can only live in the present reality – we, like those first disciples, find it impossible to take the mental leap to a new reality, to, if you like, a new ‘normal’.
The resurrection story in John’s Gospel, that we’ve just read, contains beautiful accounts of individuals’ reactions to encountering a very particular and very special reality – the truth of the ultimate miracle. Peter, bless him, bounds into the empty tomb, sees the linen and the headcloth – and, we assume, doesn’t get it. Because John’s account says specifically that the other disciple, the disciple Jesus loved (generally thought to be John) ‘saw – and believed’. Just seeing the evidence was enough for John to put two and two together – it’s really happened! Mary Magdalene’s story is different – and for a reason. She sees Jesus – but doesn’t recognise him. The story tells us that he’s actually standing there – but Mary can’t believe it truly is Jesus until ….. until he speaks her name – calls her – and then she really knows who it is. I love this story because it so beautifully goes beyond an account of the events to become an account of their consequences. The risen Christ calls us by name and when he does, we recognise him for who he truly is – and our response has to be to call him our ‘rabbouni’, our teacher. In his beautiful book called God’s Pattern David Stancliffe (former Bishop of Salisbury) describes Mary Magdalene’s story like this.
(Mary.) The name – her name – sounds magical. It’s that way of saying her name that restores in an instant the fragile relationship that she thought was severed forever. It’s that quality of personal relationship – knowing and being known by name – that matters. ….. In the middle of the griefs and miseries of a selfish world, where people are out to grab what they can for themselves and throw their weight around to achieve it, it’s knowing God, and knowing that you are known by God, that counts. …. The proof of the resurrection is not to be found by gazing into the abyss of an empty tomb, but in the risen Christ meeting you on the way and, like Mary in the garden, calling you by name. The proof of the resurrection is not a statement or an assertion: it is knowing yourself, like Mary, to be called by name and loved by God with a love that will never let you go.
D Stancliffe God’s Pattern SPCK 2003
I return to where I began and borrow part of one of Bishop David’s sentences. In the middle of all of the chaos and difficulty and uncertainty of life at present it’s knowing God, and knowing that you are known by God that counts. Whatever may happen we are all called by name and loved by God with a love that will never let us go. Alleluia. Christ is risen!
The Church of England is producing lots of good material and advice at present. This includes some excellent prayers for us all to use and I commend them to you:
You can also join the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich weekly newsletter mailing list by visiting:
This comes from Nick & Nicky Winter to wish you every blessing at this unique Eastertide. We may be prevented from sharing in Holy
Communion at this Queen of Festivals, but it is good to know that we are linked and sharing in prayer and worship – remotely, digitally and/or spiritually. There will be much to celebrate when we are eventually able to join in fellowship again. But in the meantime, although we have to fast from the Sacrament we can still feast on the Word – and I know that many are doing just that.
As we celebrate the risen Christ the words of the 14th century
Anima Christi, used daily throughout Passiontide, continue to resonate:
Soul of Christ, sanctify me;
Body of Christ, save me;
Blood of Christ, inebriate me;
Water from the side of Christ, wash me;
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me;
Within Thy wounds hide me;
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malignant enemy defend me;
In the hour of my death call me
And bid me come unto Thee;
That with Thy Saints I may praise
Thee Forever and ever.
Next Sunday – 19th April
Second Sunday of Easter
Food Banks – Message from the Community
Engagement Officer at the East of England Co-op
We support 22 independent and Trussell Trust Foodbanks through our Food Stores; the Foodbanks all collect from the stores who support them. To find the list of who we support and how to find out what their specific needs are please go on to our website https://www.eastofengland.coop/food/ethics-and-sustainability/foodbanks-(1)?viewmode=0
I can confirm that we are working hard on how best we, as a Society, can best support our local communities. There have also been articles in the paper about how food banks are struggling to receive donations as many supermarket shelves are empty.
Suffolk Community Foundation are in need of donations to support the various Suffolk Charities they are involved with, to support them financially go to https://www.suffolkcf.org.uk/in-response-to-thecoronavirus-threat-suffolk-community-foundation-launches-local-appeal/.
Message from Suffolk Trading Standards
Please pass this on to friends and neighbours
There have been reports in Suffolk of people pretending to be from the
British Red Cross, knocking on the doors of elderly and vulnerable individuals, taking their money to do shopping – and then not returning.
There have also been reports that cards are being put through doors with the British Red Cross branding, offering help.
British Red Cross are NOT utilising a postcard system currently in connection to Covid-19 and any distribution of these cards locally needs to be reported to us via 0808 223 1133.
Please share and make sure your neighbours and any elderly/vulnerable relatives are aware.
✞ Wednesday Morning Holy Communion ✞
During Eastertide (and beyond, if it proves to be useful) each
Wednesday morning at 10.00am we will stream in the usual place (Alde Sandlings Benefice YouTube Channel) a service of Holy Communion according to the Book of Common Prayer.