Easter People

Newborough Forest leading to the beach in Anglesey

The Ancient City of Petra, Jordan

The Siq - narrow dim gorge leading to The Treasury

The Road to Emmaus

The walk leading to the recognition of Jesus

What might these images be saying to us at St. Mark’s as we continue to celebrate Easter, and live our lives as Easter people?

I visited Newborough Forest and beach for the first time this week. I went and spent the day with some friends (Keith & Rosie Sinclair) who had taken their caravan there for a few days. They have often talked about the amazing 30/40 minute walk through the dark forest, which opens up into the most amazing expanse of beautiful beach. I was not disappointed – it was stunning.

It reminded me of when I went to visit the ancient city of Petra, and the only access to this extraordinary rose coloured famous archaeological site is via a narrow dim canyon called Al Siq which is approximately 1.2 kilometres long. It probably took about the same time to walk through as Newborough Forest, and then rather than a huge expanse of sea, you are faced with a magnificent building called The Treasury, and a huge adventure lies ahead of you as you explore this extraordinary ancient city made up of tombs, monasteries, ancient homes, amphitheatres, and so much more. I was not disappointed – it was stunning.

My reading set for today was the Road to Emmaus which also reminded me of these two images. Two despondent disciples walking away from Jerusalem, back towards their home in Emmaus, with their hopes and dreams ripped apart. A stranger comes alongside them, explains the Old Testament, enters their home, eats with them, and then breaks bread. Suddenly their small dim world is opened up to something so much bigger – ‘then their eyes were opened and they recognised him’ -Jesus is not dead but alive. ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ They were no longer disappointed but stunned.

I feel that the last two years have been a bit like walking down a dark forest path, or a dim narrow canyon, or it has for me, where I have felt alone, fearful, despondent, helpless, hopeless, not sure how long this journey is going to take, nor how it is going to end. On Sunday I shared with someone that I felt God had been saying in the past few days since my visit to Anglesey, and reflecting on my visit to Newborough, that we need to be ready and prepared at St. Mark’s, with our eyes wide open, because He is about to bring us through this dim/dark time into a beautiful panoramic view of His Kingdom here on earth in this parish and community. Sometimes it is easier and safer to keep walking on the path we know, but when we are obedient and keep walking alongside our Lord, towards what we cannot yet see, He has so much more for us.

As Easter people I believe Jesus longs for our hearts to be burning within us once again, being excited disciples rushing off to tell others that Jesus is alive and introducing them to His Kingdom way of life.

I think this calls for true repentance from us for the times we have made God in our own image (made Him far too small); and from repentance will come forgiveness that will enable us to stand firm once again in Christ – made in his image; and be obedient to God’s voice and will. I think out of fear we, unknowingly, put the brakes on God’s plan for His church and local community.

Tim Montgomery at the parish weekend away talked about ‘standing at the crossroad, and looking, and asking for the ancient paths, where the good way lies: and walking in it, so that we may find rest for our souls. But they said we will not walk in it’. (Jeremiah 6. V. 16) This was another of my readings for today!

Let us walk in God’s ways this Easter season at St. Mark’s, allowing Him to open our eyes again and reveal the far bigger and more glorious landscape that He has planned for us, and for the parish. Let us be ready and prepared to see the vision from Isaiah 54 come into being in our mission, ministry and outreach.

Happy Easter


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