Recording the resurrection

I’ve to do the strangest thing today. I’ve to record the resurrection ahead of time.

We are in the middle of Lent at the moment, which means worship in a lovely subdued mode, preaching of the passion on Sunday and a generally sub fusc mood. Yet I’ve agreed to a recording of a service for Easter Day on Radio Scotland and today is the day for making it all happen.

Its very difficult to get your head around what it feels like to celebrate the resurrection on Easter Day without going through Holy Week. Its going to feel as though we’ve gone through a short cut and then as soon as the recording is over, will need to reverse out of it again.

It reminds me a little of an Anglican church which I visited in Egypt when I was on a scholarship trip before I was ordained. The thing was, the English speaking Sunday morning congregation kept the same calendar as the Western Church whilst at least one of the Arabic speaking congregations, which met later on a Sunday, kept the local Coptic date for Easter. (Yes, that’s right, Anglicans had managed to exist in full communion for years yet didn’t even agree on Easter Day, something much more fundamental than current disputes). I can remember being astonished to hear that congregations of the same church kept different Calendars and then bewildered at the liturgical realities of it. Those with Western Easter would sometimes have Easter whilst the Coptic Calendar Anglicans would still be in Lent. Imagine, decorating the church with flowers and celebrating the resurrection with trumpet and ta-ra only to have to tone it down for later in the day for a congregation who were unable yet to proclaim the Good News of the Resurrection.

I always feel a little subjunctive on Holy Saturday – feeling that we must clean and polish the church just in case he rises. I guess that is what is going on in today’s recording too. We’ll make a recording of what Easter will sound like just in case we find in a few weeks that death has been broken and the stone been rolled away.

We’ll take a chance on it, I guess.