Easter Sunday 4 April 2021
Cruden Cemetery stands alongside Cruden Parish Church. But is the cemetery a place of sadness and tears – remembering the people we have lost – or is it a place of hope and expectation? Or both?
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again." Then they remembered his words.
1 Corinthians 15:22
‘for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.’
One of the biggest lies of secular society is that our last breath is our final breath. That this life is all there is. This is reflected in the so-called modern funeral – a secular celebrant, charging a substantial fee, making positive noises about celebrating the life of the person who has died. We also do this in this in a Christian service – minus the substantial fee.
here is no charge or the help of the minister! We also celebrate the person’s life, reflecting of their personality, uniqueness, and achievements. Trying to capture of the essence of their lives in a way that is respectful and affirming. But there is one key different between a secular funeral and a Christian funeral that be summed up in one single word – hope!
The message of Easter is that our last breath is not our final breath. That Jesus came into the world to bring life and immortality to light. We follow Him through the portal of death into the life of God Himself. The death and resurrection of Jesus lead to the glory of morning and the beginning of life eternal.
So is Cruden Cemetery a place of sadness and tears, where we say a final and decisive farewell to the people we have lost and loved? Or is Cruden Cemetery a place where our grief is tinged with hope? A place, where we glimpse a new reality, a hope beyond our understanding.
For many centuries, the cry of faith on Easter morning is – Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.
Christ is risen!
We give thanks for the gift of Easter
that runs beyond our expectations,
beyond our categories of reason,
even more, beyond the sinking sense of our own lives.
We know about the powers of death,
powers that persist among us,
powers that drive us from you, and
from our neighbor, and
from our best selves.
We know about the powers of fear and greed and anxiety,
and brutality and certitude.
powers before which we are helpless.
And then you – you at dawn, unquenched,
you in the darkness,
you on Saturday,
you who breaks the world to joy.
Yours is the kingdom…not the kingdom of death,
Yours is the power…not the power of death,
Yours is the glory…not the glory of death.
Yours…You…and we give thanks
for the newness beyond our achieving.
May the God of peace,
who raised from the dead our Lord Jesus,
provide us with every good thing we need
in order to do his will;
and the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
be with us now and forever.
This is our final daily reflection for the season of Lent & Easter. Whether you have followed them regularly or occasionally, I do hope they have been a source of inspiration and hope.
If you would like to know more about the Christian faith and the hope it brings, we will be shortly running a course that will enable people to explore matters of faith and spirituality. Please contact me if you would like more information.
Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church.