We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, and we respect and honor with gratitude the land itself, the legacy of the ancestors, and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Featured- Holy Week, March 24-31 – TEST

Various Holy Week links

Holy Week Summary

Holy Week between Palm Sunday and Easter is the most sacred time of year.. The purpose of Holy Week is to reenact, relive, and participate in the passion of Jesus Christ, his triumph, suffering and resurrection. Ultimately it’s about ours. From our Baptism liturgy- “We thank you, Father, for the water of Baptism. In it we are buried with Christ in his death. By it we share in his resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit.” Every Sunday is an Easter.

From early times, Christians have observed the week before Easter as a time of special prayer and devotion. As the pilgrim Egeria recorded in the late fourth century, numerous pilgrims to the holy city of Jerusalem followed the path of Jesus in his last days. They formed processions, worshipped where Christ suffered and died, and venerated sacred sites and relics. The pilgrims took the customs home with them. Holy week observances spread to Spain by the fifth century, to Gaul and England by the early seventh century. They didn’t spread to Rome until the twelfth century. From this beginning evolved the practices we observe today on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.

“Philosopher Charles Taylor has written that in sacred times chronology seems to disappear. That is true about Holy Week. The days become linked together and when we live through this period, we’re actually experiencing as it happened. We actually enter into the story, enter into the narrative in a more real way than we enter into any other day of the year” – Rev. Philip Jackson, Trinity Wall Street. From early times, Christians have observed the week before Easter as a time of special prayer and devotion. As the pilgrim Egeria recorded in the late fourth century, numerous pilgrims to the holy city of Jerusalem followed the path of Jesus in his last days. They formed processions, worshipped where Christ suffered and died, and venerated sacred sites and relics. From this beginning evolved the practices we observe today on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.

"Struggle" – From the Brothers of St. John the Evangelist
“Make no mistake about it. The events of Holy Week and Easter are not merely annual reenactments of the tragic events of the life of an important historical personage. This is spiritual mystery on its deepest and most cosmic scale. These are mysteries we, too, struggle with daily all our lives and which remain beyond our comprehension.”
– Br. Eldridge Pendleton

“We approach the passion story assuming God is just like us – liable to terrible and merciless wrath, but all capable of amazing grace. But that’s not what the Passion tells us. We’re a mixture of good and bad, but God is good all the way down, all the time , all the way beyond for ever and back. Holy Week is the story of what happens when our mixed-up lives come in touching distance of goodness that goes beyond for ever, what happens to that goodness – that goodness – and what happens to us. The Passion of Christ shows that Jesus is stretched out between heaven and earth, hanging by a thread between the limitless possibility of human goodness and the fathomless horror of human depravity… Jesus is the hanging thread, the violin string stretched out between heaven and earth. And the music played on the string is what we call the gospel.” -Samuel Wells, Hanging By a Thread: The Questions of the Cross

“Holy Week is a time to think about risk, because that’s what the whole Passion narrative represents. We watch those around Jesus- his disciples, his friends, his companions who has been with him since those early days of the ministry in Galilee. These are the companions who have watched him heal the sick, feed the multitudes and proclaim the good news. Yet we see them now, in that fateful last week, betraying him, denying him, running away fro him. These are stories not only of Judas and Peter, of John and James, they are our stories as well. Who stands firm and who runs? What happens when you run ? And what can we do, now that we have failed ourselves and others to find that “at-one-ment” agains.” – Amy-Jill Levine, Entering the Passion of Jesus: A Beginner’s Guide to Holy Week

Walk with Jesus in his suffering and share in his resurrection during Holy Week. 

As we celebrate the mystery of Jesus’ passing, we actually celebrate the same passing over in our own lives. Jesus’ self-sacrifice opened the way for us to share in new life. We must pass over our lives into God’s hands and imitate the self-giving of God’s Son.

Services online

Sunday, March 24, Palm Sunday, 10:50AM, Liturgy of the Palms, 11AM Eucharist

The St Peter’s congregation commemorates this triumphal entry into Jerusalem by gathering behind the church for the blessing of the palms and then processing to the front of the church, all the while shouting, ”Hosanna, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” and making a celebratory racket with various noise makers.

The service that follows carries the congregation on a whirlwind trip through the events of Holy Week, a summary of Jesus’ last days before being crucified.  The gospel ends with Jesus having been crucified and placed in a tomb which Pilate’s soldiers seal with a stone. 

Wednesday, March 27 7PM—TENEBRAE

Tenebrae (which is Latin for “darkness”) is based on the ancient monastic night and early morning services during the last three days of Holy Week. The Book of Occasional Services has drawn elements of all these services together so that all can share in “an extended meditation upon, and a prelude to the events in our Lord’s life between the Last Supper and the Resurrection.” The use of readings from Lamentations, and Psalms that Jesus certainly would have known and prayed during his last days, and the extinguishing of candles throughout the service provide a powerful entrance into the events of Holy Week.

Thursday, March 28, 7PM—MAUNDY THURSDAY 

The name Maundy Thursday comes from the Latin “mandatum” (commandment) and refers to the new commandment that Jesus gives to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34) to his disciples at the Last Supper.  The Maundy Thursday service commemorates the Last Supper and focuses on two things Jesus did at the Last Supper: washing of the disciples’ feet and instituting the Sacrament of Holy Communion.  

The St Peter’s service will include foot washing, Holy Communion, and   the removal of everything from the altar, at the end of the service, known as “the stripping of the altar.”   The service ends in silence.  A time of prayer and meditation after the service acts as a reminder of the hours that Jesus and his disciples spent praying in the Garden of Gethsemane after the meal they had shared. 

Friday, March 29, 7PM—GOOD FRIDAY

At 7PM, the Good Friday Liturgy opens in silence.  The altar is bare and empty.  John’s account of the Passion, the solemn collects, which are prayers dating back to the Christians in ancient Rome, and the veneration of the cross, a custom that dates back to the fourth century, carries participants to the cross and into sorrow, and the contemplation of the magnitude of the generous gift of Jesus’ obedience to God and God’s merciful and saving love for all of creation.  

Sunday, March 31, 7AM – EASTER SUNRISE at the home of Alex and Nancy Long


The Easter Day service is the principal celebration of the church year –the day when God resurrects Jesus from the dead.  Please plan to attend and celebrate!

Sunday Links – Palm Sunday, March 24

  • Web site
  • YouTube St. Peter’s Page for viewing services
  • Facebook St. Peter’s Page
  • Location – 823 Water Street, P. O. Box 399, Port Royal, Virginia 22535
  • Palm Sunday, March 24.

  • Web site
  • YouTube St. Peter’s Page for viewing services
  • Facebook St. Peter’s Page
  • Location – 823 Water Street, P. O. Box 399, Port Royal, Virginia 22535
  • Wed., March 20, Ecumenical Bible Study, Parish House, 10am-12pm  Reading Lectionary for Palm Sunday
  • Thurs., March 21, Confirmation Class continues, 7:30pm-8:15pm. Zoom link Meeting ID: 893 1712 7905 Passcode: 505603
  • Sun., March 24, “God’s Garden”, 10:00am. They will be learning about Holy Week.
  • Servers, Palm Sunday, March 24, 11am
    Lector – Andrea Pogue
    Acolyte – Arthur Duke
    Bread and Wine
    Chalice Bearer – Andrea Pogue
    Altar Clean up – BJ Anderson
  • Wed., March 27, Ecumenical Bible Study, Parish House, 10am-12pm  Reading Lectionary for Easter
  • Wed., March 27, Tenebrae service, 7pm


    Lector: Elizabeth Heimbach

  • Thurs., March 28, Maundy Thursday, 7pm

    Lector – Cookie Davis
    Acolyte –
    Bread and Wine –
    Chalice Bearer – Alice Hughes
    Altar Clean up – Jan Saylor

  • Fri., March 29, Good Friday, 7pm


    Lector : Ben Hicks

  • Sun., March 31 Easter Sunday, 11:00am.
  • Servers, Easter Sunday, March 31, 11am
    Lector – Johnny Davis
    Acolyte – Arthur Duke
    Bread and Wine
    Chalice Bearer – Johnny Davis
    Altar Clean up – Andrea Pogue
  • Coming up!

  • Portland Guitar Duo, April 19, 7pm

    1. The concert
    2. Help us advertise

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  • Holy Week – Day by Day

    Click on the particular day

    Tenebrae March 27

    Tenebrae is the opening of the Holy Week services for the church. The 2019 bulletin is here.  The description of this day in Holy Week with the Bible readings and commentaries is here.  The background of the service is here.  A photo gallery of the day from 2019 can be found here.

    This was our introduction to the service:

    The service requires both a good acolyte and reader. There are 15 candles to extinguish and creating a sense of drama as the service progress. The service is 100% scripture so the reader has a challenge.

    Unlike the other Easter services, Tenebrae doesn’t relate to a specific Holy Week event as Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter.

    “Tenebrae” is Latin for shadows. The purpose of the service is to recreate the emotional aspects of the passion story. This is an unusual service with its own Liturgy. There is no music – the readings carry the service. And it’s not from the traditional Gospel readings.

    It sets a mood and brings you through the Holy Week story through a set of “shadows”. The shadows move through the agony of last week- Betrayal, Agony of the Spirit, Denial, Accusation, Crucifixion, Death and Burial – symbolized by the lighted candles.

    Read more..

    Maundy Thursday, March 28

    The service is known for:
    1. The Last Supper and the institution of communion
    2. Washing of feet.
    3. Stripping of the altar in preparation of Good Friday.

    1. The 2023 service – online streaming

    2. Maundy Thursday marks the beginning of the Triduum, the last three days of Holy Week, in which our worship flows in one continuous liturgy, beginning with the Maundy Thursday service. “Time is suspended as we ponder and celebrate the great mysteries of our redemption.” The word “Maundy” is derived from Middle English, Old French and from the Latin word mandatum, meaning “commandment,” the first word of the phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another, as I have loved you”), the statement we hear from Jesus to his disciples in tonight’s gospel reading.

    3. Description of Holy Thursday with the Bible readings and commentaries here. 

    4. A photo gallery of the service from 2019 can be found here.

    5. 2023 Sermon – Susan Mitchell


    6. The Foot Washing

    The Commmunion -Jesus has come from God and is going to God, and so Jesus makes sure that even though we cannot go, in this life, to where he is going, that we will always be with him and he will always be with us, even as we wait for him to return. “And so he invites us to this meal at his heavenly Father’s table, the banquet table of God. “And he welcomes us as God welcomes us, with humility, and as one who serves, by washing our feet. So tonight, and every time we gather to eat this bread and to drink from this cup, we proclaim the fact that Jesus was here with us, that he is here with us now, and that we will be with him when he comes again in glory. This dinner and this footwashing remind us to look within and to look out beyond ourselves, into the world…

    On that last night with his disciples, Jesus took away the “stethoscopes” of the disciples. As he washed their feet, he showed them, through his actions, that they wouldn’t need power, or prestige, or recognition, or wealth to be his disciples. They wouldn’t need to distance themselves from one another through a hierarchy. Not one of them needed to be first.”

    Maundy Thursday was both a celebration of those times with friends but also acknowledgment that things would end quickly. The disciples did not always understand. At the Last Supper Jesus would be a server and servant – of the bread and wine and also washing feet and encourage the others to do the same. This was the worst – washing feet caked with dirt and grime made worse by the sandles they word. He was acting as a lowly servant so that they would understand the necessity to serve.

    By this action Jesus would show God’s love and they would show it others also. “You call me Teacher and Lord–and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

    The foot washing this year emphasized the above portion of the Gospel. Usually the priest washes the parishioners’ feet but we have encouraged parishioners to wash each others feet.

    He provided them a new expanded commandment of love one another – “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This would be through prayer, care and action. This love is the Agape love where we provide for the well being of others. Love is transformed into giving and receiving for all including the sinner and tax collector. It is not just between friends but includes enemies.

    7. Psalm 22 reading and Stripping of the Altar

    Maundy Thursday is known for the stripping of the altar which is part of the preparation for Good Friday. After the Last Supper, less than 24 hours remained for Jesus. Indeed the plotters had to execute him before Jewish passover began on Friday evening at sundown. Our altar was stripped after Psalm 22 which starts out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

    Events moved rapidly – prayer in Gethsemane, betrayal by Judas, arrest, mock trial, painful beating, the trudge to Golgotha and execution. As His life was stripped from Him, so we strip our altar of the signs of life to symbolize His purposeful, redemptive suffering and death for us.

    The candles are extinguished and removed. Candles represent the “Light of the World” Jesus said; “I Am the light of the World” in recognition of the darkness following the death of Jesus on the cross, the candles are removed from our presence.

    We did have a period of silent prayer at the end with music medication in remembrance of Jesus time of prayer on the Mount of Olives and in solidarity with all who seek strength in time of prayer.

    8. Larry Saylor, Prayer Meditation

    Good Friday, March 29

    The Good Friday service is under the section in the Prayer Book “Proper Liturgies for Special Days” which contain key services in Lent – Ash Wednesday,  Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, the Great Vigil.  Good Friday is good because the death of Christ, as terrible as it was, led to the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, which brought new life to those who believe. 

    The service has 6 parts 1.  an entrance in silence,  2. readings which include the John 18:1-19:42 Passion reading, 3  the Solemn Collects, 4 The Entrance of the Cross, the Veneration of the Cross,5 Musical Meditations and 6 Conclusion. 

    The first reading is from Isaiah, the ever present Psalm 22, Hebrews, and John Passion Gospel reading, John 18:1-19:42.

    Photos from 2022

    Videos from 2023

    This service continues our worship through the Triduum, the last three days of Holy Week.  It was the day of the execution of Jesus . This service begins and ends in silence. Since the fourth century, Christians have commemorated the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior on this day.  

    The Good Friday service is under the section in the Prayer Book “Proper Liturgies for Special Days” which contain key services in Lent – Ash Wednesday,  Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, the Great Vigil.  Good Friday is good because the death of Christ, as terrible as it was, led to the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, which brought new life to those who believe. 

    The service has 6 parts 1.  an entrance in silence,  2. readings which include the John 18:1-19:42 Passion reading, 3  the Solemn Collects, 4 The Entrance of the Cross, the Veneration of the Cross,5 Musical Meditations and 6 Conclusion. 

    The first reading is from Isaiah, the ever present Psalm 22, and Hebrews. Catherine  John Passion Gospel reading, John 18:1-19:42.

    David Lose writes of Good Friday “We are used to thinking of Good Friday as a day of solemnity, even of grief, as we ponder the sacrifice Jesus makes for us with his death on the cross.

    Lose continues,”But have you ever thought of it as a day for celebration? If you take care in reading John’s Gospel – the Passion narrative appointed for Good Friday (the Synoptic accounts are read on Palm/Passion Sunday) – you’ll realize quickly that celebration is probably more the mood John invites then solemn grief. Because, according to John, Jesus’ death is no tragic accident but rather the culmination of Jesus’ earthly mission to rescue a fallen humanity from the power of sin, death, and a world captive to evil and draw them to God’s abundant life. Jesus, in other words, goes to the cross not just willingly but eagerly, for the cross is actually his throne, the place where he will be lifted up and from which he will draw all persons to himself (Jn. 12:32).”  

    There are moments of bright light in the Good Friday story as Justin Taylor and Andreas Kostenberger point out – “A bright irony on this darkest of days is that the men who step forward to claim the corpse of the Christ for burial are not family members or disciples. They are members of the Sanhedrin: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. It is one more unexpected thread of grace woven into this tapestry of redemption. They quickly wrap Jesus’s body in a sheet and lay it in a nearby tomb. Evening is falling and they don’t have time to fully dress it with spices.”

    From David Lose, “In the descriptions of this scene provided by the other evangelists, there is always a moment of agonizing self-doubt when Jesus asks, even begs, his heavenly Father to remove from him this cup of suffering and then comes through this moment of grievous testing and doubt by affirming, “not my will, but yours, be done” (Mk. 12:36, Mt.26:39, Lk. 22:42). There is no such moment of trial in John… The second scene, this one from the crucifixion, follows suit. For Jesus utters no cry of despair from the cross in John but instead fulfills prophecy, gives orders to his followers, and finally dies saying, “It is finished.”

    The death is portrayed as an exaltation; it’s the way of his return, of his circuit back to the father from whom he had come. The phrase is constantly used “that the scripture might be fulfilled.” 

    The Solemn Collects in the Prayer Book provide this theme of an active Christ and his mission alive – “Our heavenly Father sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved; that all who believe in him might be delivered from the power of sin and death, and become heirs with him of everlasting life.”

    The Solemn Collects are prayers for all – “We pray, therefore, for people everywhere according to their  needs” – the church, world, the governments and people, and those who have died

    The sermon provided guidance to find the meaning of Good Friday and a way to approach the events in our life. “In addition to opening for us the way to eternal life, Jesus showed us how to face the end of our lives gracefully. In John’s gospel, Jesus does not resist death. At the end, he says, “It is finished.” Then he bows his head and gives up his spirit.

    “What we can learn from this last moment in the life of Jesus is how to live every present moment that we have left in our lives as if each moment is our last, the summary of the lives that we have been granted, and to offer our moments as gifts and offerings to God and to one another.”

    “In her book, The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully, Joan Chittister points out that the gift of getting older is that we come more and more deeply to know that everything in life has meaning. We cease to take life for granted, because we know that life is now, this very moment. We come to understand that “What we haven’t lived till now is still waiting for us. Behind every moment, the spirit of life, the God of life, waits….” and that every small thing we do is meant to take us deeper into the substance of life itself. In each moment is everything we have ever been and will become. And each moment is calling us to enter the fullness of life, to be gifts and to offer ourselves. “

    After the sermon was the veneration of the cross, the dramatic entrance of the cross. The raising of the cross is slow but dramatic as it is raised and placed on the altar.   

     The Veneration are three readings about the cross with anthem interludes about the cross.  1.  “Beneath the cross of Jesus” 2 “Jesus, keep me near the cross” 3. “The Old Rugged Cross”

    After the veneration was the Musical Interlude. This year we prayed at the altar for the light from Christ that we can share with the world. After praying each of us took a votive candle home to share the light.

    The service concluded with the Lord’s Prayer and Concluding Prayer – “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, we pray you to set your passion, cross, and death between your judgment and our souls, now and in the hour of our death. Give mercy and  grace to the living; pardon and rest to the dead; to your holy Church peace and concord; and to us sinners everlasting life and glory; for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you  live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”

    Easter Commentary, Year B

     "Noli Me Tangere" (Touch Me Not)
    – Correggio (1534) 

    I.Theme –   Easter celebrates the  reality of Jesus’ resurrection in all its many aspects.  Hope, Transformation, Evangelism and a new life.

    John’s Gospel, one of the longer accounts of the Resurrection, shows the ability of the risen Christ to bring transformation and hope into the most difficult situations of human pain and grief is powerfully and movingly highlighted. With this encounter, John ‘leads the reader from the empty tomb to that which is the real meaning of the resurrection – the creation of a new relationship between Jesus and those who believe in him.’

    By contrast, Mark’s account is the shortest. And in Mark’s account, not even the women, who faithfully come to the tomb on that first morning, go out to proclaim the good news–instead, they flee in terror and amazement, and say nothing to anyone (vs. 8).   However, it should be noted and appropriate that  the first witnesses to the Resurrection are women,  who would not have been considered reliable witnesses at the time.  It is a life changing event and one outside our normal expectations. The Resurrection is The Resurrection of Jesus, though foretold in the Gospels, was never expected or understood by the people closest to Jesus. It is something new, something amazing, something so wondrous that it takes a while for it to sink in. 

    The Corinthians reading is the oldest of all testimonies to our Lord’s resurrection from the apostle Paul. Indeed, the point at which 1 Corinthians 15 stands closest to the Gospels is the identification of Simon Peter (Cephas: verse 5) as among the first to whom the risen Lord appeared (cf. Mark 16:7; Luke 24:34; John 21:1-8). At this point, Paul’s list omits the most obvious part of all the gospel resurrection narratives, when his account is set next to them — where are the women? Paul’s writings precede the writing of the Gospels. It is historically impossible to know what kind of information Paul received from others about the resurrection.   The point is that while Paul was late to the Church, Paul senses God’s presence and grace and that Jesus dies to save sinners for all.  

    The Acts reading emphasizes the broader nature of the resurrection spreads the message of Christ to all and in particular the Gentiles.  It is Peter’s missionary speech to Cornelius, a Gentile centurion, and his household. The conversion of Cornelius marks an important turning point in the understanding of God as impartial and consequently the outreach of the Church to Gentiles. Many “circumcised believers” (11:2) rejected and feared the possible inclusion of Gentiles in the Church, but Luke makes clear that Peter himself (even before Paul) began the mission to the Gentiles under the direction of the Holy Spirit (1:8) because his idea of God had changed. 

    The Psalms speak to the type of life we receive in Christ. 

    1. In death to sin, self, and the world (v.3a; cf. 2:20; Rom. 6:6-11)
    2. In spiritual resurrection to newness of life (v.1a; cf. 2:12-13; Rom. 6:6, 11)
    3. In new, spiritual life, aliveness to God (vv. 3b, 4a; cf. Rom. 6:11, 13)
    4. In resurrection glory (v.4b; cf. Rom. 8:17-18; 2 Thess. 1:10) 

    The lectionary readings are here  or individually: 

    Old Testament – Isaiah 25:6-9
    Psalm – Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 Page 760, BCP 
    Epistle- Acts 10:34-43
    Epistle- 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
    Gospel John 20:1-18
    Gospel – Mark 16:1-8

    Easter Voices

    1. David Lose – "It’s Only the Beginning"

    The story of what God is doing in and through Jesus isn’t over at the empty tomb, you see. It’s only just getting started. Resurrection isn’t a conclusion, it’s an invitation. And Jesus’ triumph over death, sin, and hate isn’t what Mark’s Gospel is all about. Rather, Mark’s Gospel is all about setting us up to live resurrection lives and continue the story of God’s redemption of the world.

    Mark gives us a clue to that in the very first verse, in an opening sentence that is almost as abrupt and awkward as the closing one. Mark, you’ll remember, doesn’t give us the long genealogy of Matthew; the tender story of shepherds, angels, and a mother and her newborn together in a stable as in Luke; or the theologically soaring and totally wonderful hymn to the Word made flesh of John. Rather, Mark says simply, even pointedly, “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Goodness gracious, but that doesn’t even sound like an introduction (and, indeed, some have wondered if it was Mark’s title rather than opening line). But the key thing here is that Marks says straight off that all of Mark’s writing is only the beginning of the good news of what God has done and is still doing for the world through Jesus the Christ.

    It’s only the beginning; this story isn’t over. It’s only the beginning, and we have a part to play. It’s only the beginning, and if you wonder why there is still so much distress and pain in the world, it’s because God’s not done yet. It’s only the beginning, and Mark is inviting us to get out of our seats and into the game, sharing the good news of Jesus’ complete identification with those who suffering and his triumph over injustice and death with everyone we meet. It’s only the beginning, and we’re empowered and equipped to work for the good in all situations because we trust God’s promises that all will in time come to a good end even when we can’t see evidence of that.

    It’s only the beginning….

    2. Lawrence – “A Brand New Future for the whole of creation”  

    The first is that we fail to recognise that what happens on Easter Sunday – the resurrection of Jesus from the dead – is far bigger than a “reasonably significant event in the life of Jesus”. It is nothing less than a brand new future for the whole of creation. On Good Friday, the entire old world order of fallenness, despair, decay and death triumphs over Jesus. It is the end of Jesus’ mission and is the human race’s verdict on God’s salvation in Jesus: “Crucify him!”

    Good Friday leaves everything in ashes. Sin wins. It is not so much that it defeats us: the horrifying thing is that we deliberately choose it over God. On Good Friday we choose to be godforsaken rather than saved. Until we understand the cosmic, eternal significance of what we choose to do in crucifying Jesus, we will not grasp the enormity of Easter Sunday.

    For God chooses not to judge, condemn or withdraw. God does not let our Last Word stand. God does not allow us to reap the consequences of our addiction to self-destruction. Hatred and death get the Last Fling in Jesus’ crucifixion … but on Easter Sunday, we discover that the Last Word belongs to God – a word of Life and Love.

    The Word of Resurrection that summons Jesus from the tomb is the freshly uttered Word of God that summons a new creation into being out of the ashes of the old. The old world order that has subsisted for as long as human beings have been in charge is dead and buried in Jesus. Cosmic destruction is complete; sin’s destructive power has been exhausted. Now, on Easter Sunday morning, God’s creative Word smashes the cosmic silence of Easter Saturday: “Let there be Life!” And as the risen Jesus steps from the tomb, the New Creation is born. The Light of Christ has come into the world. The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not been able to put it out.

    Easter Sunday isn’t some sort of self-congratulatory “the Church got it right!” jamboree. It’s the time to recognise that we stand this side of the resurrection of Jesus, in a new world that was born on Easter Sunday over 2,000 years ago – a world determined not by death and futility, but by the inexhaustible, unfathomable, love, grace, mercy, forgiveness and welcome of the God of Resurrection.

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