Saint James Anglican Church

Joseph Howe Drive at the Armdale Rotary, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada             


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Easter 2010

 

"That you may have life in abundance" (John 10:10)

 

More than thirty years ago I served a parish on the rugged Cabot Trail.  Each Sunday I made the trip from Neil's Harbour to Ingonish and back again to conduct Sunday worship. The ride was always panoramic, winter or summer, day or night, foul weather or fair. The few white-knuckle moments did nothing to diminish the grandeur. Summer Sundays, however, were sometimes cliffhangers. Tourists and summer residents ambled on the trail. Unlike me, they were not often preoccupied with being somewhere at a specific time. Every once and awhile the car in front of me would pull into our church parking lot. The visitors would join the congregation for worship. A common refrain at the door afterwards was "What a beautiful part of the world you live in!"  It was true. It has been true for every community we had the privilege to live in --St. Margaret's Bay, Western Newfoundland, south shore Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island, and the Northwest Arm at Armdale. What's more, when the situation is reversed, and you find yourself the visitor, the local beauty is remarkable. I attended General Synod for the first time in Winnipeg twenty-five years ago. The various reports, briefings and debates have long since left my memory. What remains indelible is the majesty of The Red River and wonder of the big prairie sky. Summer past I was off to study church buildings. They are beautiful and awe inspiring, but no more so than the natural environment in which they are set.  Whether it was the European countryside, the mid summer drive from The Gulf Coast to The Green Mountain State, or crossing back up into the Canadian Shield, the diversity of our world is something to behold. Sheer biodiversity, life in abundance, is one of The Creator's greatest gifts to us.

 

Similar diversity and abundance characterizes the witness to Resurrection. Each of the four Gospel writers tells the story about the risen Christ from their unique perspective. In fact, we find in the telling of the good news a sense of resurrection even before the events of Good Friday. "I have come that you may have life in abundance." The witness of St. Paul provides many rich and varied impressions of the new life in Christ. The Book of Acts is a treasury of stories about the vital Christ. People of faith have always proclaimed, "Christ is alive". The multiple attestations of this faith are as diverse and abundant as the people who live it.

 

Faithful people continue to emerge from the darkness of personal "Good Fridays" and into the light of newfound life. It may be the person who works through a time of grief, an addict who has become sober, a person once lost to themselves who has found renewed purpose in life, the person who looks back on their life with a sense of fulfillment, a community working on a new vision for the future, a people that perseveres and rebuilds after a catastrophe. Abundant life is as diverse as the human family. The bold claim is that stories about abundant life are Easter stories. How have you discovered abundant life in Christ?  What is your Easter story?

 

Canon Rod Gillis, Palm Sunday & Easter 2010