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Extending the Easter celebration 

EarlyMorningCrossRev Andrew Bryant explains why he regards Easter Sunday as just the start of a much bigger celebration. 

If you are going to arrive new in a worshipping community, then I guess there are few weeks better than Holy Week.  And very especially for me, as my new spiritual home is to be Norwich Cathedral, where I will be working in the new post of Canon for Mission and Pastoral Care. 

It has been a real privilege and joy to be immersed in the wonderful liturgy and amazing music of the cathedral, as we have journeyed from Palm Sunday, to the Last Supper and beyond to arrest, trial and crucifixion before finally, and heart-stoppingly, coming to the empty tomb.
But of all the services, the one that most made my soul leap for joy was the Sung Eucharist on Easter Monday.  It meant so much to be able to continue the sense of celebration that we had begun the day before and not feel that Easter had been packed away for another year. 

So often in church communities, the events of Holy Week lead to a big crescendo on Easter Sunday and then… nothing.  Clergy go on holiday, the parish winds down for a quiet week, Easter Monday becomes a day of recovery from the exertions of the week before and there is a sense of post-party anti-climax.
I always want to spend Easter Day walking on tiptoe and only speaking in whispers – of all the responses to the resurrection the one I most identify with is the women running away in fear. For me Easter Day is full of such awe, wonder, mystery and its truth so amazing that I can barely bring myself to whisper.  I need to sit behind locked doors and try to get my head around what on earth this all means.
The season of Easter should, of course, go on through to Ascension and Pentecost.   What I long to see is an Easter celebration that starts in whispers and as the season unfolds gets louder and more joyful and reaches its climax as our Lord ascends to heaven.  Easter is not a day, but a truth that will take all our lives, and even our life beyond death, to fully begin to comprehend.
As the shops clear away the images of Easter bunnies, rabbits and chicks, we must make sure we do not pack Easter away for another year.  Easter is not over; its celebration is only just begun.  And as the season unfolds let your celebrations become noisier and more joyful, as the full awareness of all God has done for us starts to dawn in our hearts.  And as a reminder add one more Alleluia to your prayers each day until we proclaim His true glory at the Ascension!

Andrew BryantCFThe Revd Andrew Bryant has recently been appointed as the new Canon for Mission and Pastoral Care at Norwich Cathedral. He was previously Team Rector of Portishead, Bristol, in the Diocese of Bath and Wells, and has served in parishes in the Guildford and Lichfield Dioceses, as well as working for twelve years with Kaleidoscope Theatre, a charity promoting integration through theatre for young adults with Down’s Syndrome.
You can read Andrew's latest blog entry
here and can follow him via his new Twitter account @AndyBry3.

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