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Easter isn’t over!  The Great Fifty days of Eastertide covers the period between Easter Day and Pentecost, fifty days later.  By the time you read this we will be at the Third Sunday of Easter (5th May) and at the end, 30th May, it is Ascension Day.  Pentecost is on Sunday 9th June.

During this Easter period most of our gospel readings (apart from Ascension Day) are from John.  We will follow the risen Jesus having breakfast at his third post-resurrection appearance with the disciples and trying to restore Peter after his denial of him by asking three times ‘Do you love me’.  Peter makes a painful and heartfelt reversal of his denial saying three times: ‘Lord, you know that I love you’ – then Jesus says, ‘Feed my sheep’.  

On the 4th Sunday of Easter (12th May) John’s gospel has Jesus talking about the good shepherd.  No doubt our music on that morning will include ‘The Lord’s my shepherd’ amongst others and also we look forward to hearing Fiona Daborn, Christian Aid co-ordinator for Dorset, speak to us in the sermon slot.  We hope she will inspire us at the start of Christian Aid Week.

3rd Sunday at 10 on 19th May is the 5th Sunday of Easter and the gospel – John 13.31-35 – is where Jesus gives a new commandment, to love one  another.  No prizes for which hymn will be sung on that morning!

Our last Sunday in May is the 6th Sunday of Easter and I am hoping that the reading that morning is John 14.23-29 in which Jesus, in preparation for his Ascension, promised an array of parting gifts to his followers:  The Spirit, who is love poured into their hearts, and a peace that the world cannot give. 

Jesus’ departure may be felt as sorrowful, but these parting gifts are not to make up for his absence, but to bring about his continuing presence. For we are Easter people and Easter is still with us.

Even though it is sometimes written or suggested that we Christians sing the best music during the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent, because we are really good at misery and really bad at celebration,  let’s kick that assumption into touch and declare,  Alleluia!  Christ is risen.   He is risen indeed.  Alleluia!

P.S.   It has been suggested in the Church Times and the Royal School of Church Music magazine, that ‘worshippers remember rather more of the music and hymnody of any given service than they ever will of the sermon.’

I flatly refuse to believe that and I shall quite understand if Annie Stedmon decides to edit it out!                                                     

Sheila Munnery
Licensed Lay Minister