| I hope that you are still celebrating Easter and the resurrection of Jesus, even if, like me, your
Easter Eggs have long since disappeared! Easter is not just a Day. In the Church calendar it
is a 50-day celebration which only ends at Pentecost (which this year falls on Sunday 9th
June) when we celebrate the presence of the Holy Spirit in Christ’s Church.
But Easter is more than simply a season in the Church’s calendar. As Christians, Easter is our
life and our world-view.
St Augustine said famously of the Church of Jesus Christ that, “We are an Easter People and
Alleluia is our song.” We are truly an Easter People. The resurrection of Jesus is our hope and
it is the foundation of the Church. Paul put it like this: “If Christ has not been raised … then
your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14). It isn’t just that if Christ did not rise again our
faith would be different, there would be no Christian faith at all.
The first Christians’ lives were shaped by their faith in the resurrection of Jesus. They lived as
people who belonged to God’s kingdom and not to the kingdoms of the world. They had no
fear of death, they believed that it is a defeated enemy. Most of all they lived as people who
knew that love is the greatest power in creation. They served their neighbours, cared for the
sick and comforted the bereaved. Other people noticed that these Christians lived differently.
It was because they lived as an Easter people that the first Christians made such an impact
on their world. Others were attracted to what they saw in their Christian neighbours.
Easter is not only the foundation of Christian life; it is the lens through which Christians look
at life and the world. At the heart of our faith is the Cross and the Empty Tomb, Good Friday
We see so much pain and sorrow in our world. In just the few days around Easter this year
we saw the terrorist attacks on Churches and hotels in Sri Lanka; innocent men, women and
children, eating breakfast on holiday or going to Church to celebrate Easter were attacked
for no reason at all. In the same few days we saw reports of natural disaster hitting Africa
and a shooting in a synagogue.
Evil is real, pain and suffering are not merely intellectual problems - they destroy lives and
families and communities.
Christians do not pretend that all is well with God’s world because we know that it often isn’
t. Nor do we suggest that we have the answer to the questions raised by suffering and evil.
But Christians have always responded with an Easter Faith. This means firstly we do what
we can to bring practical relief to those who suffer. And secondly, we live as a people of hope.
The Cross tells us that God is not absent but is at the heart of the suffering of His creation;
that God is with those who are broken by the world and its ills.
The Resurrection tells us that the God who raised Jesus from death will bring restoration to
His creation. In God’s kingdom there will be healing and there will be perfect justice. Every
tear will be wiped away and every broken heart will be mended. This is the hope and the
promise of Easter. As Christians we are shaped by Easter.
May God bless you in this Easter season.
|Following Jesus; Celebrating Life; Welcoming All
We are here to help people love and worship God.
We aim to be, and encourage others to become, committed and active disciples of Jesus,
who love God and worship him, who know the power of the Holy Spirit and who show
God’s love in every part of their lives.
|Prayer for the month
|Thought for the month
|Below you will find extracts from this month's Parish Magazine
First Words..., A Prayer for the Month & A Thought for the Month
|This well-known Anglican prayer, found in both the Prayer Book of 1662 and in modern
Anglican prayer books, such as Common Worship. It is based on an ancient Latin prayer
used at the celebration of the Eucharist.
An early English translation appears in the 14th century book on contemplative prayer The
Cloud of Unknowing. The Reformer and Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer
translated it for the Book of Common Prayer.
I have always found that it is a prayer that helps me to enter into worship. It prepares my
heart and my mind to enter consciously into God’s presence. It reminds me that God knows
me as no one else, even myself, know me. Nothing is hidden from God.
From acknowledging that I am known by God the prayer passes to a request: that God, by
the cleansing fire of the Holy Spirit, will refine me, make me acceptable to God so that I may
be able to truly and worthily enter into worship.
God, as addressed in this prayer, is distinct, is different. God is holy and we who seek to enter
into worship are not. But although God is different, He is not distant. We dare to turn to God
and to come before God because He is the One revealed by Jesus - our Father who loves us,
not because we deserve God’s love, but because God is love and God loves us.
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|May is quite an eventful month this year. As well as several weddings taking place on
Saturdays in May we have quite a variety of events in Church, but the month begins with a
day of rest on Monday 6th May with a Bank Holiday - let’s pray for good weather!
On Thursday 9th May at 5.30pm we welcome Ecclesfield Beavers into St Mary’s as part of
their Faith Badge.
On Saturday 11th May at 9am we hold our monthly Prayer Breakfast - all are welcome
to join us as we listen to God’s word and pray for our Church and Parish, our City and world.
May’s PCC Meeting moves to Monday 13th May at 7.30pm because of the Bank Holiday.
This will be the first meeting of the newly elected Church Council.
On Wednesday 15th May the Vicar and wardens will attend the Archdeacon’s Visitation
at Rotherham Minster. All PCC Members and Sidespeople are invited as is any member of
On Sunday 26th May we have our monthly Youth Fellowship at 5pm in Church. Any
young person of Secondary School age is welcome to join us. This is followed at 6.30pm by
our Prayer and Praise service.
On Wednesday 29th May at 7.30pm we begin an 8 week look at St Paul’s letter to the
Philippians. We will be following the Discipleship Explored. Paul, in his letter looks at
what it means to be a Christian. The lessons that Paul taught in the first century AD are still
relevant to all who want to follow Jesus today. All are welcome, especially those who have
done an Alpha Course. For more information see Tim.
Finally, on Thursday 30th May at 7.30pm, we will be hosting the S35 Partnership
Ascension Day Eucharist.
|Twitter - keep in touch with Tim Gill @RevTimGill
|The Knave and South Aisle roof works are now complete
Our Thanks to all those involved in the works and
particularly to the Heritage Lottery Fund and its
supporters for their generous contribution.
Thanks also to Ecclesfield Feoffees for their contribution to
the work done on the North Aisle roof
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