Before Sunrise, on Sunday 21st April, a good number of people from the churches in Belton & Burgh Castle will gather at the east gate of the Roman fort at Burgh Castle. You are welcome to join us! To be up and out before 5.30am might seem strange to you but let me explain …….
On Good Friday we will have remembered the crucifixion of Jesus the Son of God and how he was taken down from the cross before the start of the Jewish Sabbath and placed in a tomb – Jesus dead and buried.
The Bible describes how before dawn some women including Mary Magdalene went to the tomb with spices they had prepared only to find that the great stone, that sealed the entrance, had been rolled away. Running to tell the other disciples, and then returning with Peter and one of the disciples; they couldn’t make sense of what had happened.
Mary then stays at the tomb. Sad. Distraught. It is there in the very early morning that Jesus speaks to her. Initially she doesn’t recognise him, until he speaks her name, “Mary!” and she becomes the first witness of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
So the service in the very early morning is one where we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, remembering what happened and what it means for us today. Sometimes it has been cold, windy and snowy. Sometimes it has been grey and over cast, but on other occasions we have enjoyed a bright and beautiful sunrise. We are hoping for bright sunshine this year!
For Christians, the Easter message is central to our faith.
Jesus’ death on the cross makes forgiveness for our sins (for everyone) possible.
Jesus’ rising from death, gives us the hope of eternal life, because death is defeated.
The grave could not hold Jesus and his resurrection offers new life for all.
The Easter story is one of love and hope; God’s gift to all people through Jesus Christ.
It wasn’t just to Mary Magdalene that Jesus appeared. Later that day Jesus appeared to two of his disciples as they walked along the road to Emmaus; and to all the disciples (except Thomas) who were hiding away in a locked room for fear of the authorities coming to get them as they had Jesus. Jesus appeared many times to many people – alive!
Some might say – well he wasn’t dead when he was put in the tomb, but the details of the soldiers spear in his side (of blood and water flowing) tells us that he had died before he was taken down from the cross. What is most amazing is the transformation that takes place; in spending time with the risen Jesus, the disciples are transformed from frightened individuals to a group who are confident to speak about Jesus in the centre of Jerusalem to all who would listen and receive their words. And so the world-wide spread of Christianity began; the relationship with the risen Jesus being the inspiration and motivation of his earliest disciples, as it is with his followers today.
Dare to do different and get up early on Easter Day. Join us at the Burgh Castle Fort as we remember and celebrate Jesus Christ risen from the dead; the hope we have and the love we share