On a liturgical note: April 2021

By Canon Philip Gillespie

May the light of Christ, rising in glory,
dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

The entrance of the newly lit Easter Candle into a darkened church is symbolic of the darkness of our society and our world which needs a light to guide it, to illumine and show the way. How can we understand ‘the light of Christ’? We might say that it is the teaching and wisdom of the Gospel, the ability of Jesus to ‘enlighten the eyes of the blind’ but surely it is first and foremost the encounter with the risen Jesus which transforms my life – and not only transforms, but challenges. It challenges me to a daily remembrance that the light which burns brightly on the lampstand of my life is not for me alone; it is meant to be for the good and for the benefit of others. 

During the Easter Season we will read almost exclusively from the Acts of the Apostles – a book which almost merits the subtitle ‘what happened next’. It is the story of those who took that first message, ‘He is Risen’, and let it so direct and enliven their lives that they have become for us all the foundation on which we build. It is a story of the faithfulness of women and men strengthened by the Holy Spirit, the coming to faith of households and individuals but above all the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus Himself who promised, ‘I am with you always, indeed to the end of the days’ (Matthew 28:20).

The return of the white vestments, the flowers and the Alleluias are external manifestations of the deep joy of the Easter message – but, of course, they will remain only on the level of the external unless they reflect the deep internal joy of the Gospel. So let us nurture and deepen our meetings with the Risen Christ though prayer and the sacraments so that we can all the better be the light-bearer to the communities in which we live.