The Lord is risen indeed. A L L E L U I A !
Today, like you, we celebrated Easter, as the cap of Holy Week. During the week we watched as our priests stripped the altar. We waited in the garden at Gethsemane, and we venerated the cross on Friday. Saturday we were skittish and lost, and Sunday we shouted in joy and heard trumpets and rejoiced in song. The happiness at the return of Our Lord was palpable.
But the long cold dark of the Easter Vigil came before. We waited together, knowing what would happen but somehow fearing that this year it might not. It's a silly fear, of course; Easter morning always comes. We waited in California, watching and listening silently as the secular world kept up its business. We waited together. There is no substitute for holding vigil with other believers: we know that we are the church, and by waiting vigil together we somehow feel more frail and human. The priests waiting with us were as helpless as we.
But as we waited, we kept a window on the online world. All day, reports came in, saying Christos anesti and Khristos voskres and Christus ist Auferstanden and Christ is Risen and Kristus on ülestõusnud and le Christ est ressuscité and Upprisa Krists and Cristo ha resucitado. From the first light of morning in New Zealand through Australia, Asia, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Africa and Europe, South America, North America, and finally Alaska and Hawaii, the good news rushes in over the internet, each report in its own time.
This breathtaking experience of global Easter isn't like the Pope speaking an Easter greeting in a hundred languages. While we admire his skills as a linguist, having a hundred people send email exclaiming in their own words that Christ is risen somehow carries, for us, more meaning than hearing one man say it a hundred ways. Last night the internet was abuzz with the good news of the resurrection, and our closest friends, scattered around the world, all told us how they waited and celebrated. But it didn't happen all at once in some brief avalanche of messages. Easter came to St Peter's in Rome nearly half a day after it came to Holy Trinity Church in Gisborne, New Zealand, and to our church another nine hours after that. We saw and read the testimony of the Resurrection arrive from all over the world for twenty hours before we heard the church bells rejoice in our own city. It is somehow humbling to read an account of a dear friend's coming home after Easter Sunday Eucharist while we are still holding vigil the night before; incorporating his report into our expectations. We know, as we wait, that by the time the trumpets play 'Jesus Christ is Risen Today' in our parish it will be Monday afternoon in New Zealand.
We feel privileged to be situated so far to the west in the world's time zones, so that we can experience this global flow of Paschal greetings while we are still in sombre preparation for our own. We get to share everyone's alleluias, all day. It is a powerful reminder that Jesus died not only for our sins, but for the sins of the whole world. And we feel privileged to be alive in an era when global online communication can draw us so close together and make the distance between Golgotha and our own little town just vanish. Every day is a pilgrimage, but the shrines come to us.
We hope that you will feel as much joy this Easter week as do we. And, as always,
we'll see you next Sunday. A L L E L U I A !
Last updated: 31 March 2002