Tag Archives: Celebration

Celebration

Easter Lilies-Lilium longiflorum

Easter Lilies by Cliff from Arlington, VA. [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D via Wikimedia Commons

Across the world two Sundays ago the majority of Christians gathered in churches, many of them gaily decorated with appropriate banners and, even more delightful to the eye, a gorgeous colourful display of spring flowers. Bells will have pealed their clarion chimes, with organ and voices attempting to raise the roof with their resounding songs of praise. In my earlier days of ministry it was not unusual for choir and guest soloist to perform a favourite cantata at this momentous time in the Christian year. Children played their part, they came in their new attire to celebrate the Anniversary of Sunday School. In more recent times, if you could overcome your inhibitions, you might swing a bit trying to keep up to the rhythm of the praise band. For Christians, Easter Sunday is the most glorious day of the year. A time to celebrate, Christ risen, Jesus alive – as close to us as he was to his broken mystified disciples that first Easter Day. Nowadays we tend to be more restrained in our worship at Eastertide, the format more or less the norm for an ordinary Sunday. However, drop in to any church on the great day and it could not be mistaken for anything other than Easter worship, the hymns alone would guarantee it and maybe a vase of white lilies competing with the Cross for a space on the Communion Table.

As I look back on my pilgrim way I recall occasions when I fondly imagined that living life with Jesus, side by side, face to face, in those far distant days in Palestine would have been much easier than my constant struggle. Hymns for younger people certainly encouraged that perspective; seeing him, being with him. Here is a line from one of them, “I would like to have been with him then!” James Simpson in one of his regular columns for the Church of Scotland’s magazine Life and Work, reckons that the day after the crucifixion, was a very dark one for the followers of Jesus. Peter J. Gomes, an American pastor and preacher, who died a short time ago, speaks much along the same lines; his theme the first disciples and Easter. Their Easter Day, he contends, was far less impressive than ours; their Easter Day was much duller than ours. There were no trumpets on their Easter Day, their Easter Day was far less compelling than ours and the other side of Easter saw them locked behind closed doors, afraid and utterly confused.

Now what if that was how they had remained – self acknowledged failures? What if Easter had meant the end of an exciting venture under the leadership of a charismatic and beloved brother, Jesus? Did God have some other plan? We will never know, happily no contingency plan was needed, a fact that shapes and colours our worship, not only on Easter Day. What we tend to forget is that each time we cross the threshold of our meeting place on a Sunday we are gathered to celebrate the joy and glory of Easter!

On the first day of the week, when the disciples were behind locked doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them “Peace be with you,” he said. (John 20: 19).

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A charge to keep I have: 65 years a preacher

David Jackson opens the celebration. On his right, Margaret Jackson. On his left John & Chris Mitchell; Steven and Ann Moore.

LtoR Margaret Jackson, David Jackson, John Mitchell, Chris Mitchell, Steven Moore, Ann Moore, Fiona Butcher (piano)

A slightly different type of post this week, writes the Blog Administrator. On Saturday 21st September, Paisley Methodist Church held a celebration to mark John’s 65 years as a preacher. The afternoon was led by David Jackson, Senior Circuit Steward, and included music, prayers and poetry starting with the Charles Wesley hymn quoted in this post’s title, A charge to keep I have, which was also sung at John’s ordination in 1956. Gifts were presented, a cake was cut and everyone enjoyed a delicious Faith Tea. Thanks are due to:

  • David Jackson for chairing the celebration
  • The Wesley Singers, led by Kathleen Pearson, for two musical interludes
  • Fiona Butcher for her piano recital and accompaniment
  • Cathie Cuthbertson for her poetry reading
  • Steven Moore (Barrhead) and Edith Johnson (Greenock) for delivering greetings in person
  • Members of the Church at Girvan, Liz Adams (Superintendent Minister) and David Easton (District Chair) for sending greetings
  • Margaret Dunsmore for the magnificent cake, and everyone else who provided food

Finally, last but certainly not least, a huge thank you to Alec Wilson who organised the event. It was brilliant and appreciated by all.