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May 2017

Easter is not over yet!

During these days of Easter we use the refrain ‘Christ is risen: he is risen indeed, alleluia’ quite a lot. It replaces the more standard greeting which begins most services: ‘the Lord be with you: and also with you’ or its alternative ‘the Lord is here: his spirit is with us’. But these refrains are related. At Easter we celebrated once again the victory of God in Christ over sin, death, and the powers of darkness – a victory made manifest in the resurrection and the occasions when the risen Christ appeared to his disciples and followers. Holy week and Good Friday were not the end – they were the beginning. The victorious Christ was with us (humanity). He endured suffering pain and death but overcame them all to be with us. That is why we proclaim Christ is risen. It is in the present continuous tense – it refers back to a specific event in the past but it continues to be a present reality.

As we move through the month of May we move towards the Ascension and Pentecost (Whitsun). First Christ ascended into heaven after giving the disciples his great commission to go into all the world bearing witness to all that they have seen and heard: the disciples never saw him again. He also promised that he would not leave them alone to perform this task; he would send the Holy Spirit, the fulfilment of which is the feast of Pentecost. And this is the link between the two refrains that I mentioned at the beginning. It is because Christ is risen that we can ‘the Lord is here. We may spend 50 days celebrating Easter but we are a church of Pentecost – God’s Spirit is with us. This we affirm at every service Christ may have ascended into heaven but through his Spirit he is with us still today. Alleluia.

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