Rev. Alex Wilson

 “I have seen the Lord”

John 20:18  

Friends,                            

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! This greeting signifies the overwhelming joy and excitement expressed within us at witnessing the splendor of the resurrection which is symbolized for us in the new Paschal candle along with the return of flowers, and the great alleluias, to our liturgy. It is still a disjointed experience to be thrown into the joy of Easter after the somber reflection of Lent. There are places where we may not feel ready or able to embrace the excitement of Easter’s proclamation, something which is shared in the quote from John’s Gospel which opens this letter.              

In this reading from John, our Gospel for Easter Sunday, Mary Magdalene has come to the tomb looking for the body of Christ. She is greatly disturbed when she cannot find him even though Christ is already in front of her. It is important to note that all the male disciples had already gone home leaving Mary alone in her grief over the death of someone she loved and followed with her whole heart. Mary’s first recognition of the risen Christ is an important moment for the church. In this moment, Christ presents himself as the scriptures said, and a member of his community saw him, believed in Him, and ran back to tell the other disciples what was happening. Unlike the male disciples, who saw only with their eyes, Mary saw with her eyes and heart. She recognized and saw Christ in her midst and leapt with Joy!              

Seeing Jesus, is something we have leaned into in lent this year. Through our Lenten studies we have encountered Christ in the money markets and in the Five Marks of Love[1], which are the Anglican Marks of Mission[2] which reflect our baptismal vows. In both instances we witnessed to a process of seeing Christ with new eyes anew, and a refreshed heart, in all aspects of our lives. Seeing Christ anew takes the inward work of noticing where the light that Christ sheds on our life might not be shining as brightly anymore. It might be in our relationships, or commitments. It might be in our careers, or even retirements. Like Mary, we can have such a strong sense of what it is we know our lives to be with Christ, to suddenly be bereft when we no longer see him around us. Over lent we have continued that work of going deeper into our faith to help us see Christ’s resurrected presence afresh at Easter.                

This Easter we are invited to shout with joy, like Mary, at the sight of the resurrected Christ, and there are a few ways in which you can both prepare for this moment and continue the work of telling the world what you have seen at the tomb;

●     The work of the Neighbourhood Ministry, as an outdoor or indoor team member is one way in which we see Christ resurrected at Easter. By packing and distributing food to those who live on our streets, we encounter the presence of Christ in our city through the faces of those in need. We have a new Mobile Care Unit coming online which needs both funds and volunteer power to help go out into the streets and bind the wounds of those who do not share our access to safe health care. For more information please speak to Shirin, Alex, or Marian.

●     Our Weekly Bible Study, Digging In, where we encounter Christ in scripture and fellowship, bringing together members from all over West Point Grey to deepen our faith and wrestle with the questions of life in light of what we hear from God’s Word. To find out how to get involved, speak to Heather, Alex or Shirin.

●     Our Services over Holy Week and Easter which are outlined on our website.                        

One of the many ways we shout for joy at Easter is in giving back to God an offering of what God has given us. Our website allows you an opportunity to make such an offering, which goes to the ministry of this parish and its continued strengthening of purpose of in the UBC, UEL, and West Point Grey neighbourhood of Vancouver. With your generosity you have deepened the faith of 30 people through our Lenten programs this year; you taught our Sunday school how to pray, and to lead our prayers when the bishop was with us; you will baptize 4 people at Easter; you enhanced the faith of 6 people in our weekly bible study; you fed and clothed 10 people on the street every month; you have comforted, challenged, and enabled countless people through the sacraments, preaching and teaching to those who have come seeking Jesus in this place. You are changing lives because of who you follow and what you’ve seen at the tomb.

Mary says to us again this year “I have seen the Lord!” And the church says ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA!  

Join me this Easter. Come and meet Jesus at the Tomb. ALLELUIA!        

Alex+

Rev. Alex Wilson Vicar      

[1] The Society of St John the Evangelist is an Episcopal Monastic community in Cambridge Mass. Find out more about the lent program at http://ssje.org/ssje/5marksoflove/

[2] The Five Marks of Mission are the Anglican understanding of how we engage in ministry. Find out more at http://www.anglican.ca/ask/faq/marks-of-mission/