A New Wave of Light!
A sort of Mexican wave has been sweeping across the earth every day since the beginning of the world. I suppose you could call it a Mexican light wave! For the last few hours, since the dawn started breaking in the East over Japan until the sun rises later over the Earth’s westernmost point, in the south pacific Island of Samoa, the daily ritual of the rising of the sun to its setting,a kind of earthly Mexican wave of light, has been unfolding. But today, that Mexican light wave is somehow different from all the other days of the year,that Mexican wave of light takes on a very different dimension this morning as light dawns and the sun rises over the earth. Today’s light carries an added brightness, because that light is infused with another light, a light that the darkness can never overpower. That’s the light of Christ’s resurrection, the light of God’s triumph over the power of death.So strangely, as that wave of light sweeps across the earth this morning, and our fellow human beings awake from sleep, and curtains are opened onto views over seafronts, and apartment blocks, and green fields, and prison courtyards, and as the hustle and bustle of daily life begins again, our eyes are opened to a very different light this morning.
A welsh poet describes it well, he says, “And sometimes a strange light shines,paler than the moon, and casting no shadow”.That’s the light of Christ Risen from the dead. The light that has penetrated even the darkest of human realties, and now shines out hope for all who, like Christ, find their themselves walking through valleys of darkness and death.
Coupled with that strange Mexican wave of resurrection light, is another Mexican wave, this time a Mexican sound-wave! It’s the sound of Church bells breaking their Lenten silence and ringing out in unison with the breaking of dawn across our world. For, in the words of the ancient Orthodox Easter proclamation, “The Lord is risen. He is risen indeed! The first glimpse of the resurrection light that began to break through the darkness last night, was when the tiny paschal flame appeared at the door of darkened churches all over the world. From Rome to Reykjavik, from Dehli to Dublin and from Perth to Paris, that same tiny flicker of light proclaimed to Christians that all was not lost, that Christ would indeed do what he said he would, and the God would raise his Son from death to life. What’s so striking about that tiny little flicker of hope, is that it’s a light that never allows us to forget Christ’s wounded-ness, his fragility, his humanity.
Remember, the Paschal candle is a wounded candle. Its body has been pierced with nails as the priest traced the sign of the Cross on its front. So the candle may carry the light of Christ’s resurrection, but it won’t ever allow us to forget that the light of the resurrection is a light forever tinged with the suffering of God’s people. Indeed, in the light of Christ’s resurrection, the Father sees and receives all our sufferings and darkness as he transforms us into the image of Christ. The fragile, but nevertheless divine light of the Paschal Candle stands with us as we enter this life and are baptised into Christ.
Don’t forget that wherever it was you were baptised, a lighted Paschal candle stood at your baptismal font. For Grace today, this is her special candle, because this is the light of Christ that will stand over her in a few minutes when she will be baptised. What’s special about the Paschal candle, is that it stands a testimony to us that whatever our wounded-ness and wherever life’s journey may take us, God’s light goes before us to protect us and to guide us…and when we come to the end of this life, that same light stands beside our earthly remains to go before us across the threshold into eternal life…
So Easter Sunday is all about light then. A different light. A wave of light that sweeps across horizons today and whether we are conscious of it or not, leaves none of us untouched. For as last night’s moving prayer of blessing of the Paschal Candle reminded us as the sign of the Cross was made on the candle.
Christ yesterday and today
the Beginning and the end
the alpha and the omega
all time belongs to him
and all the ages to him be glory and power
through every age and for ever.