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An Easter message from Revd Dr Sam Wells

News St Martin – Talking Points

Sunday 16 April 2017

An Easter message from Revd Dr Sam Wells

That distant Sunday morning, the first day of the week, when the dew lay heavy, the sun was warming up, the birds were shaking sleep away with the thrill of dawn, and all creation breathed in the smell of anticipation, two people rose early, their sandaled feet covered in dust and strained by running. They went to the tomb, and met there an angel, who broke open their whole world, saying ‘He is not here: he is risen.’ And they ran. They ran, with fear and great joy – with the hasty, gulping breath of fear, and with gurgling joy, with the outstretched hands and billowing cloak and squealing yelps of joy.

Fear and great joy: at the extremes of our hearts today. So much to fear, so many reasons to be afraid. Fearful that we can’t be certain what lies beyond death. Fearful that we can’t protect our loved ones from the horror of death. Fearful about issues way beyond our control, from terrorism and war that destroy countries to the addictions and diseases that destroy lives to the greed and plunder that are destroying the earth. So much to fear.

And yet also great joy. Great joy. Joy of a baa-lamb finding its rickety feet in a meadow; joy of a baby discovering how to swallow; joy of the song, when we have the words, and God has the tune; joy of the harvest, when all is fresh and mellow. The joy of being part of a team, when you believe in what you are doing and where you are going. The joy of the orchestra, about to break into a thrilling crescendo. Great joy.

Fear and joy, the two poles, the two extremes of our human response to the awesome intimacy of God. Fear and joy run with us throughout our lives together, as constant reminders of the cost and promise of following Jesus. Fear and joy, at the centre of our longings, at the heart of our desires.

But there’s a secret. It is a secret that we only glimpse at in this life. It is a secret that was first revealed to those two early risers on the first day of the week, while all creation breathed in the aroma of anticipation. It is the secret of Easter. It is a secret that is the climax of our gospel, a secret of the mystery of fear and joy. And the secret is this: joy wins.

Revd Dr Sam Wells
Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields
Easter Sunday 16 April 2017