We sang some great hymns and songs this morning as we celebrated Easter Sunday, but one we didn't sing (maybe because its more often associated with All Saints Day) is Bishop How's " For all the saints who from their labours rest" which is a great biblical hymn usually sung to Vaughan Williams lively tune. Nevertheless it is that hymn has been on my mind since I got up this morning .
The later verses express the New Testament teaching on death and life beyond death wonderfully well
The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon, to faithful warriors cometh rest.
Sweet is the calm of Paradise the blest.
But, lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of Glory passes on His way.
. From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
The Christian church is amazing in it's diversity ,people from every tribe and tongue and nation but also from every generation.
So today I thought of so many of the people whose funerals I have taken down the years, from the retired police inspector and the elderly pioneer missionary, to the young student ,to the children and still born babies and many many others,and how Christ's Death and Resurrection changes everything for them, and means "we sorrow not as others sorrow who have no hope"
Easter is an incredibly hopeful time
As I parked my car on arriving home from church I noticed this young apple tree in full blossom in the garden.
It is a tree generously given to me by the parents of a fine young Christian man killed in a road traffic accident not so long ago, and whose funeral I took part in .From the depth of a harsh winter new,beautiful and hopeful life has sprung.!
From death comes life .
In the words of Stuart Townend's great hymn which we did sing this morning "Death is dead love has won Christ has conquered!