The vicar of the small ancient church is everything I would want a vicar to be.  He is slightly portly, bewhiskered with a curly white beard that clings around his face, and eyes that twinkle with humour and intelligence and a generous mouth that smiles most of the time.  When he takes the hand of a child for the first time, they are happy to accompany him, and he knows where the Easter eggs are hidden.  When he walks down the aisle to begin a service, everyone smiles in eager anticipation.  When he blesses us we feel peaceful.  When he teaches us we feel fed.  He has five parishes to juggle, hundreds of parishioners to single out, and he does a wonderful job moving from busy family services to contemplative evening services of chants. 

Reverend Colin MacDonald

He began his sermon with the story of a girl – he called her “Jenny” – who grew up in a family which, by her own admission, was happy and loving – with birthday parties, family holidays, and outings all together.  It was a family to which, as she grew up, she began to feel she never quite belonged.  As a teenager she began testing her parents, pushing against the boundaries, trying cigarettes, moving on to alcohol, staying out late, sometimes all night.  Her parents struggled to deal with her, trying everything they could think of, but the more they tried to show her love, the more she pulled away.  She started taking drugs, dropped out of school and jobs, left home, lived in squats.  The parents tried to help her with counselling, tough love, rehabilitation.  Nothing worked, but they still kept on trying.  Several years later Jenny sorted herself out and wrote that she felt that she was unloveable but her parents love for her told her otherwise, so she thought that she had to be free of that love in order to be the unloveable person she believed herself to be.  So she did everything within her power to stop them loving her.  Only much later did she realise that she needed their love more than she needed anything else in the world, and she learnt that nothing that she had done, nothing that she could have done, would have stopped her parents loving her. 

The vicar likened her behaviour to our behaviour in relation to God.  He described how we throw everything at God, we blame God for not rescuing us, for leaving us where we are, we lose faith in God, we set out to destroy God, we trust in material things, we are quite sure we can manage by ourselves.  Good Friday and the crucifixion of Jesus symbolises all the rubbish that we throw at God, all the damage that we seek to do to God, how far we want to be from God.  And Easter Sunday and the resurrection shows us that even after all that we have done, God is still there, regardless.

It was early on a snowy Easter morning and yet the box pews were full.  After the austerity of Lent, the church looked beautiful with wide boxes of daffodils, forsythia and yellows chrysanthemums on every window sill and on the font, and big snowflakes falling the other side of the tall diamond lozenged windows.  We began by singing “Jesus Christ is risen Today, Alleluia”, a 14th century Bohemian latin carol, one of the last to be written before the Reformation, and ended with “Thine be the Glory” sung to a tune composed by Handel in 1747.

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