There is much to give thanks for this month. The month starts with Palm Sunday and we then journey to Easter via Holy Week. These days cover themes of suffering, failure, betrayal, hope, love, victory, new life, and resurrection. Time seems to freeze as we gather around the cross on Good Friday. A day when time stood still and the world held its breath. It is a day called ‘good’ not because it was a nice day but because Jesus gave his life on the cross for us. As Jesus suffered and was later crucified he destroyed the barrier between us and the Father. As he suffered we quietly and reverently give thanks for the humility he showed and the sacrificial death he died: as Jesus himself said, ‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’ (John 15.13). We can do little more than to be quietly thankful. It is a day like no other.
Resurrection is the theme of Easter. When the soldiers, religious authorities, the crowds and even the disciples had called it a day, when Jesus was dead in a tomb, the unexpected happened. New life. Mary was not looking for it when she came to the tomb. The disciples, when disturbed by the news and rushed to the tomb, did not expect to find life. It took a little while that first Easter day to make all the connections. He was alive – indeed he met them!
Sometimes the message of the resurrection eludes us. We still think dead things stay dead, that change is not possible. While the cross often looks like failure it is a victory: death and sin defeated.
Easter, therefore, sees the great shout of ‘Alleluia, Christ is risen’ and the shouted response, ‘Alleluia, He is risen indeed!’ As we travel further into April we celebrate new life and new beginnings – perhaps even in our lives as we choose to let Jesus reign in them. Jesus’ victory over sin and death is celebrated every Sunday of the year but at Easter we celebrate more passionately, more fervently, more thankfully. To be so loved by God and forgiven, even though we do not deserve it, is almost a miracle itself! We are very blessed to have had the Bishop of Lynn lead us through a Lent. She will be with of in Dereham for our Maundy Thursday Service and again on Easter Day in Dereham.
We are delighted to announce our new Team Vicar for Swanton Morley, Hoe and Beetley with East Bilney will be the Revd Rachael Dines. She is at present Team Rector of the Hunstanton and Saxon Shore Benefice. She is well known to me from North Walsham days when she was a curate. She has a heart for ministry and mission, a dog called Pippi, a love of cooking and quilting, and above all a love for Jesus. She will be an outgoing, approachable, cheery presence in our communities. Her licensing Service is on Sunday 18th June at 6.00 pm at All Saints’, Swanton Morley. It would be lovely to see you there.
The Revd Canon Paul Cubitt, Team Rector