Rev’d Janet’s Easter Letter 2019

Canon Janet Lynall’s Easter Message 2019  

Dear St. John’s and friends of St. John’s, St. John’s Anglican Church wishes you a very Happy Easter!

While it was still dark. While it was still night. While she could not see. While she thought death held sway. While she grieved. While she wept. While it was still dark, resurrection began.

Leave takings in this life are hard.  After a loved one dies or you experience a life changing loss in your health, relationships or work, you have likely responded to well meaning friends asking how you are doing, with “well I am still breathing!”  It seems no small miracle that after our heart is shattered, that we can still do that. It seems a miracle still.  So how does resurrection seep into our lives, into the dark and fearful places and times?  Jesus says, resurrection joy cannot be stopped, this resurrection life that in the midst of our bewilderment or sorrow, with our breath knocked out of us, invades us, also claims us and breathes life into us. 

When the bombs of someone’s anger explode around you, when you feel shattered by criticism or discouraged by circumstances, and your plans flop, Jesus comes and proclaims His love for you.  He averts your gaze from those things that are eroding you, to places where songbirds are waking up with their jubilant spring songs, where buds are bursting on trees, and snowdrops laughing at winter’s gales. Jesus’ love is total.  It is full and unconditional.  It is radically vulnerable and infinitely sufficient.  It is fresh with hope and fearless in the face of rejection.  Jesus’ love broke the bonds of death to hold us and it stretched the chords of love to fully encircle us.  The song in you to sing was given to you by the Creator.  It is a song of delight.  With His love, we can bloom again and again – after a death, after an illness, a falling, after a storm or heartbreak.  We find power within us and we help others do the same.

I remember thinking when attending seminary to become an Anglican priest,that I would have to bow out, why?  Because my singing voice wasn’t strong enough.  I thought all the other candidates had better voices so I must not be called.  Who put that in my head?  Who puts in your head the words “not worthy”  “not possible”  “not good enough”?   Mary Magdalene’s weeping at Jesus’ tomb gives way to seeing, to recognition, to astounding joy. Her beloved is risen!   Hope and life rise in her!

I would want to linger there, to stay and savor the miracle of this reunion with Jesus, and return again and again to that moment.  But we know that Jesus asks something other of Mary Magdalene. Though this may be a garden, and a garden is a place of delight, this is not a place to put down roots.  It is a place of calling, of consecration, of sending as Jesus urges Mary and you and I, to go, go with what you know and have seen in your life, and tell what you have seen.  Testify to the light and truth and beauty within you. 

To this end, I am excited to introduce for the Easter season, members of the parish testifying to what their faith journey looks like. We are Easter people who know that Jesus is on the loose, changing lives, our lives, breathing hope over ashes and dried bones. There are no situations that Jesus cannot enter and see you through.  At Easter Jesus looked suffering and death straight in the eye and went through them, right through them.  He could no more lie forever in a tomb than a tulip bulb can remain dormant in its casing in springtime or a little lamb not leap for joy!  Jesus could no more silence the power of God within him calling forth resurrection life, as a songbird can silence her song. Now we must trust this love with all our life.  

Christ gave everything to us, and when everything was taken from him, even life, the richest blessings he could offer, heaven, could not be stopped, even by death.  Christ died and rose, that you may have fullness of life now and forever.

God of life made new, make me new! Raise me up this day. Easter morning, dawn in me;  loving Christ, live, new, in me. Light of new Creation, spread throughout my soul. Confident morning of hope and faith, be my new and only world. All that would entomb my love, all fear and pain, all doubt and shame you have undone with love, and rolled the stone; the light of love floods in. I am set free. God of love, surpass all possibility; love be my only power, my deepest trust, my courage to hope, to gently bless in the face of all evil and death.  (by Steve Garnass)

Join us Eastertime for Holy Week Services – Palm Sunday April 14 – 9 and 10:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist and Palm Crosses 

Maundy Thursday April 18 7:00 p.m. Last Supper Holy Eucharist, Foot or Hand Washing, Stripping of Altar 

Good Friday April 19th 10:30 a.m. Dramatic Narration of the Passion with powerful music and liturgy, hot cross buns after service in Porter Hall                                

Easter Sunday April 21st  9:00 a.m. Traditional Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion with Organ, Easter Hymn, hot cross buns after both services in Porter Hall              10:30 a.m. Contemporary Family Eucharist and Praise Band