Nether Heyford Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul
For many years, I worked for Somerfield Supermarkets, as part of the finance team overseeing distribution operations. I was involved in the operation of a number of warehouses, alongside hundreds of delivery vehicles, and over a thousand semitrailers. I remember that as soon as Christmas and New Year were behind us, the warehouses would fill with Easter Eggs, which would then be sent out to the stores by the palletful – however late Easter might be that year. Nothing has changed since I left the distribution industry to go to theological college; our shops and supermarkets are still full of chocolate Easter Eggs, which seem to get ever more elaborate – and expensive – as the years go by.
Easter Eggs remain an enduring symbol of the season. Alongside chicks, Easter bunnies and daffodils, they are images of new life, as spring takes hold. There are signs of this new life all around us, as trees and flowers bud and burst into life, and spring lambs gambol in the fields. The arrival of sunshine, warmth and blue skies lifts our spirits, as we look forward to the summer months. February’s unusual heat wave reminded us of that, and the return to wild and windy weather in March has been most unwelcome.
For Christians, all these symbols of new life remind us of the resurrection of Jesus. After the sombre reflection of Lent, and the emotional roller-coaster of Holy Week, we rise on Easter morning and celebrate; the stone has been rolled away, the tomb is empty, Jesus is risen! Alleluia!
Strangely, according to Mark’s Gospel, the women who discover the empty tomb don’t respond with the joy and gladness that marks our Easter celebrations. Instead, they flee from the tomb, terrified and upset, and tell no-one what they’ve seen (Mark 16:1-8). What is there to be afraid of? Perhaps it’s because in the risen Jesus, God is on the loose, and can no longer be contained by the ‘box’ his opponents – and we? – try to put him in. God is on the loose, and those who try to control him with religion should tremble. For just as the burgeoning new life of spring is beyond our control, so too is God, crucified, risen, alive and at work in our world. So, as we celebrate the resurrection, I pray that we might imagine the unimaginable: the creator God, bursting out of the tomb, out of all the constraints we try to put on him, and striding boldly into our lives, inviting, challenging and calling us to share his abundant new life with the world around us. And I pray that you will have a joyful and a peaceful Easter.
Yours in Christ,
Stephen – 01327 344436
On Good Friday, 19th April, we will be having a Walk of Witness around Nether Heyford, starting at St Peter & St Paul Church at 2 PM, arriving at the Baptist Hall for hot cross buns and refreshments at about 3 PM, and then having a Good Friday service at 4 PM, in the Baptist Chapel on the village green. As we make our way around the village, we will pause at various points to hear about and reflect on some of the events of that first Good Friday afternoon, as Jesus made his way through Jerusalem to his crucifixion.
The Streets we shall be praying for during April are: Bugbrooke Rd and Wakefield Way in Heyford, Bliss Lane and the Nursery, Meadow Farm Close and Brington Rd in Flore, Main St in Church Stowe and Manor Farm, The Old Coach House and Manor Cottage in Brockhall.