Sunday, 4 April 2021

An Anglican missionary
nun and martyr in Korea
who was born in Ireland

Mother Mary Clare, an Irish-born Anglican martyr, is remembered in a room at Saint Columba’s House, Woking (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

After a year of pandemic lockdowns and partial lockdowns, I may be on the brink of being ‘all-Zoomed-out’ … but for the fact that many Zoom meetings introduce me to amazing and committed people I might not meet otherwise.

Recently, I was involved in a ‘virtual meeting’ arranged by the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) with Anglican priests and bishops from the Philippines and from South Korea. The meeting with four Korean priests reminded me of the Whitty sisters from Ireland, including an Anglican nun who died a martyr’s death during the Korean War.

Mother Mary Clare (1883-1950) was born Clare Emma Whitty in Fenloe, near Newmarket-on-Fergus, during one of many family holidays in Co Clare. Her sister, Sophia Angel St John Whitty (1877-1924), was born in Dublin and was a celebrated artist and woodcarver.

Their father, Dr Richard Whitty (1844-1897), was from Rathvilly, Co Carlow. At least three members of the Whitty family were Church of Ireland priests in Rathvilly; another branch of the family included three Rectors of Kilrush, Co Clare.

The Whitty sisters were cousins of Catherine O’Brien (1881-1963), the stained-glass artist; the Irish nationalist historian Alice Stopford-Green (1847-1929); and the controversial hymnwriter Stopford Brooke (1832-1916).

The two Whitty sisters spent much of their childhood at Hillcot in Whitechurch, Co Dublin, but family holidays were spent in Co Clare. When they were still children, Dr Whitty qualified as a medical doctor, the family moved to Limerick, and the family lived at No 11 The Crescent before moving to Essex later.

No 11 The Crescent, Limerick … for a few years the childhood home of the Anglican martyr and missionary nun Mother Mary Clare and her sister the artist Sophia Angel St John Whitty (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

***

Clare Emma Whitty studied in Paris and became a teacher in Birmingham. She joined the Anglican Community of Saint Peter in Kilburn and took her vows in 1915 as Sister Mary Clare. Bishop Mark Trollope (1862-1930), the Anglican Bishop of Korea, invited her to start a society of Korean sisters, and she founded the Society of the Holy Cross in Seoul in 1925. She became the first Mother Superior in 1929, and after spending World War II in exile in England, returned to Korea in 1947.

On the outbreak of the Korean War, she remained in Seoul. When the North Koreans captured Seoul in June 1950 she was interned, and as they retreated Mother Mary Clare and other missionaries were force-marched into North Korea. The ‘Death March’ was over 100 miles in winter, with little food or warm clothing. Mother Mary Clare died on 6 November 1950 was buried in the north-west part of North Korea by five French-speaking Roman Catholic sisters who dug her shallow grave.

Mother Mary Clare’s sister, Sophia St John Whitty, was a leading figure in the Arts and Crafts movement. She designed carved walnut figures for Christ Church, Bray, including two angels and Saint Patrick. She died in 1924 and was buried in Powerscourt.

Mother Mary Clare’s former community now runs Saint Columba’s House, a retreat house and conference centre in Woking where I have stayed during a meeting of USPG trustees. There, one of the guest rooms remembers her with the name ‘Mary Clare.’

By the 1880s, the Whitty family had moved to The Crescent, Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

A racist fraudster
from Rathmines


I have written in recent months about the bogus and competing claims made by Victorian clergy in Ireland to be chiefs of the O’Hanlon Clan and to hold the title of ‘The O’Hanlon,’ and about Lady Fitzgerald who lived in Victorian Lichfield, whose husband and sons used an Irish title to which they had no legitimate claims.

But the most preposterous charlatan and conceited claimant to titles I have come across must be Robert Gair or Gayre (1907-1996), the Rathmines-born son of a pastry baker who claimed he was a Scottish clan chief and laird.

This pretender was neither Scottish nor a clan chief. He was born in Dublin, was a charlatan and confidence trickster who invented his own Scottish clan and his own genealogical charts and orders of chivalry. He set up and edited his own pseudo-scientific journals, The Armorial and Mankind Quarterly, to advance his claims in subjects as diverse as heraldry and anthropology.

Robert Gayre was actually born George Robert Gair on 6 August 1907 at 4 Woodland Villas, Rathmines. His father, Robert William Gair (1875-1957) from Shelbourne Road, and his mother, Clara Hart from Serpentine Avenue, had been married in Dublin on 28 July 1906.

Robert Gair, or Gayre, who was born in Dublin in 1907, spent decades embellishing his pedigree and acquiring heraldic accessories and concocting colourful but bogus pedigrees and genealogical claims.

George Robert Gair, aka Robert Gayre of Gayre and Nigg … born in Rathmines, he held preposterous and racist views

***

Robert Gair studied anthropology at Exeter College, Oxford, but there is no record that he received a degree at Oxford. Later, he claimed three doctorates from three Italian universities, all dating from 1943-1944, when Britain was at war with Fascist Italy, and after World War II he assumed the rank of ‘lieutenant-colonel.’

In 1947, he self-published Gayre’s Booke: Being a History of the Family of Gayre. There, he set out a bogus ancestry that he claimed established him as the chieftain of the Clan of Gayre. However, no clan or sept by that name is mentioned in any record prior to Gayre’s claims.

At 50, he changed his surname from Gair to ‘Gayre of Gayre and Nigg’ in 1957, bought a castle in Scotland, and assumed the fraudulent and fictitious feudal title of Baron of Lochoreshyre. He claimed knighthoods, roles, medals and gongs in a diverse range of chivalric orders with differing grades of legitimacy and credibility.

But he also held extreme views that made him an undisguised anti-Semitic racist. He nurtured links with the National Front, former members of Mosley’s blackshirts, Nazi supporters and advocates of apartheid, and he regularly visited South Africa and Ian Smith’s Rhodesia. When he was challenged, he lost libel actions against the New Statesman and the Sunday Times.

He engaged in Ruritanian intrigues with pretenders to the throne of France, the would-be head of the House of Bourbon-Two-Sicilies, and the deposed king of Yugoslavia. The scope and magnitude of his fraudulent claims did not come to light until after he died on 10 February 1996.

The pretentious coat-of-arms used by George Robert Gair after he changed his name to Robert Gayre or Gayre and Nigg

A USPG bishop who
challenged apartheid


At the end of each meeting of USPG trustees, we remember in prayer former missionaries, staff members and supporters who have died since the previous meeting. At our latest ‘virtual’ meeting, those we remembered included the Revd James Potts, who had been a missionary in Tanzania, and Bishop Humphrey Taylor, a former USPG general secretary.

James Potts was a missionary in Tanzania for 12 years, where he was involved in theological education. He later lived in retirement in Lichfield, and I got to know him at Lichfield Cathedral, where he regularly presided at the mid-day Eucharist in the cathedral, in the Lady Chapel or at the High Altar.

In retirement, he was also the chaplain of Dr Milley’s Hospital on Beacon Street, Lichfield. We last met at the mid-day Eucharist in Lichfield Cathedral many months ago. He died on 8 February at the age of 90.

Bishop Humphrey Taylor (1938-2021) was a former USPG general secretary (1984-1991) and later the Suffragan Bishop of Selby.

He went with SPG to Malawi, where he was the Rector of Saint Peter’s, Lilongwe. But President Hastings Banda expelled the Humphrey family from Malawi in 1971. Back in England, he was chaplain at Bishop Grosseteste College in Lincoln and worked for the General Synod Board of Education.

Dr Milley’s Hospital, Lichfield … the Revd James Potts was appointed chaplain in 2010 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

***

Humphrey Taylor returned to USPG as Missions Programmes Secretary in 1980 and General Secretary in 1984. He visited South Africa on behalf of USPG in 1982, with Geoffrey Cleaver and Roger Symon, visiting 15 Anglican dioceses and people and groups, from parish level to the Provincial Standing Committee of the Anglican Church.

Their joint report expressed admiration for a Church that was ‘strong in numbers, rich in talent, efficiently led, active in evangelism, powerful in stewardship, deeply involved in social concern.’ But they were also worried that the Church was part of the status quo and pointed out: ‘Despite the black majority (80%) in its church membership, of seventeen diocesan bishops … only six were black.’

The close links between USPG and the Anglican church in South Africa made USPG a respected source of information for the media, and USPG was instrumental in setting up the South Africa Crisis Information Group.

When the life of Bishop Simeon Nkoane was threatened in 1986, Humphrey Taylor and USPG arranged a high-profile visit to South Africa by Bishop Keith Sutton of Lichfield as the representative of Archbishop Robert Runcie of Canterbury.

Humphrey Taylor accompanied Archbishop Runcie to the enthronement of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town, and it is said Bishop Taylor wrote Archbishop Runcie’s sermon on the occasion.

Archbishop Tutu made Humphrey Taylor a Provincial Canon of Southern Africa in 1989 for his ‘inestimable contribution’ to the life and work of the Church there. After 11 years at USPG, he became Suffragan Bishop of Selby in 1991. He died on Ash Wednesday, 17 February, at the age of 82.

Bishop Humphrey Taylor … instrumental in the USPG response to apartheid in South Africa

This two-page feature was published in April 2021 in the Church Review (Dublin and Glendalough

Sunday intercessions on
4 April 2021, Easter Day

The Resurrection depicted in the Foley window in Saint Mary’s Church, Nenagh, Co Tipperary (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Let us pray:

‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him’ (Acts 10: 34):

Heavenly Father,
on this Easter Day,
we thank you for the grace to follow Christ,
in times of grief and of rejoicing,
in times of rejection and welcome,
in times of defeat and triumph.

We pray for the nations of the world,
for Ireland north and south,
for the Taoiseach and Tanaiste,
the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

We pray for nations torn by war, strife and division,
we pray for all who defend democracy and human rights,
for all who stand against racism, prejudice and oppression,
and we pray for all peacemakers …

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here’ (Mark 16: 6):

Lord Jesus Christ,
we pray for the Church,
that we may welcome Christ in word and sacrament.

We pray for our neighbouring churches and parishes
in Co Limerick and Co Kerry,
that we may be blessed in their variety and diversity.

In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer,
we pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

In the Church of Ireland this month,
we pray for the Diocese of Down and Dromore
and Bishop David McClay.

In the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer this week,
we pray for all suffering from depression and other mental illnesses,

We pray for our own parishes and people,
and we pray for ourselves …

Christ have mercy,
Christ have mercy.

‘Christ, once raised from the dead dies no more; death has no more dominion over him’ (The Easter Anthems):

Holy Spirit,
we pray for one another …
we pray those we love and those who love us …
we pray for family, friends and neighbours ...
and we pray for those we promised to pray for …

We pray for those in need and those who seek healing …
for those working for healing …
for those waiting for healing …
for those seeking an end to this Covid crisis …

We pray for those who are sick or isolated,
at home or in hospital …

Una … Ann … Valerie … Daphne … Sylvia … Ajay …
Joey … Ena … George … Louise …

We pray for people who are lonely this Easter, without their families around them …

We pray for those we have offered to pray for …
and we pray for those who pray for us …

We pray for all who grieve and mourn at this time …
for Joey, Kenneth, Victor, and their families …

We remember and give thanks for those who have died …
especially for Linda Smyth …
for Bridget, whose birthday is at this time …
for those whose anniversaries are at this time …
May their memories be a blessing to us …

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

A prayer from the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) on Easter Day:

Loving God, we come to you on this day that your Son
broke the bonds of death and rose victoriously from the tomb.
May the risen Christ continue to strengthen us
with the desire to share the good news of Your love for the world.


Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!



These intercessions were prepared for use in the Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin Group of Parishes on Easter Day, Sunday 4 April 2021

Finding faith and meaning
to end our fears and
to fill the empty spaces

The Resurrection … a stained glass window in Saint Michael’s Church, Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Sunday 4 April 2021, Easter Day

10 a.m.: The Easter Eucharist

The Readings: Acts 10: 34-43; the Easter Anthems (I Corinthians 5: 7-8; Romans 6: 9-11; I Corinthians 15: 20-22); John 20: 1-18

There is a link to the readings HERE.

‘Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark’ (John 20: 1) … scurrying through Mediterranean streets before dawn (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Early on the Sunday morning, ‘the first day of the week’ after the Crucifixion, before dawn, Mary Magdalene, who has been a witness to Christ’s death and burial, comes to the tomb, only to find that the stone has been rolled away.

At first, it seems she is on her own, she alone is named. But later she describes her experiences using the word ‘we.’ There are other women with her too that early morning.

In the alternative Gospel reading in Saint Mark’s Gospel (Mark 16: 1-8), Saint Mark says that on Saturday after sundown, the women buy spices to anoint Christ’s body.

Early on Sunday morning, they go to the tomb. It is a dangerous task, risking being identified with the man who has been executed publicly, shamefully.

Imagine them scurrying through the back streets and city lanes, creeping outside the city walls, hoping no-one is awake yet or sees them in their secret mission.

But when they get to the tomb, the stone has been rolled away, and the grave is empty.

Mary and these women rush back to tell Saint Peter and Saint John they fear someone has taken away the body. But the tidy way they find the folded wrappings and rolled-up shroud shows the body has not been stolen. They believe, yet do not understand; they return home without any explanations.

But Mary returns to the grave. In her grief, she sees ‘two angels in white’ sitting where the body had been lying, one at the head, and one at the feet. They speak to her, and then she turns around and sees Christ, but only recognises him when he calls her by name.

Peter and John have returned without seeing the Risen Lord. It is left to Mary to tell the Disciples that she has seen the Lord. Mary Magdalene is the first witness of the Resurrection, the first person to the Risen Christ. He sends her back to tell the other disciples what she has seen, she becomes the ‘Apostle to the Apostles.’

But, despite Mary’s good news, the disciples have remained at home, socially isolated, their doors locked in fear (John 20: 19) throughout that first Easter Day.

This is the second consecutive Easter that our churches are empty and our church doors have been locked in fear … this time in fear that church services may be ‘super spreader’ events.

What is the dominant feeling this Easter morning: Fear? Or Faith?

Writing in the Guardian last week (29 March 2021), John Harris talks about the way the year of lockdown has brought with it ‘the sudden fear of serious illness and death, and the sense of all of it being wholly random.’

When they filled their census form earlier this month, John Harris and his partner ticked the ‘no religion’ box. Later, though, he admitted he ‘felt a pang of envy’ as he ‘wondered how religious believers were feeling’.

He writes, ‘Like millions of other faithless people, I have not even the flimsiest of narratives to project on to what has happened, nor any real vocabulary with which to talk about the profundities of life and death.’

In the first phase of the pandemic, Googling the word ‘prayer’ increased by 50%. An Easter service led by the Archbishop of Canterbury from his kitchen table attracted 5 million viewers, described by the Church of England as the largest congregation in its history.

As the pandemic lockdown continued, the symbols of religion made very visible recoveries, have come back to life, have given people new ways of finding, exploring and expressing meaning in life.

That exploration ranges from a renewed interest in the second series of Fleabag and its explorations of ethics in an age of individualism, to a startling surge in the popularity of early Christian composers such as William Byrd and Palestrina, and to virtual pilgrimages to a degree, according to a leader in the Guardian, ‘that would have astonished Geoffrey Chaucer.’

The fear of the Apostles, locked away in isolation in their homes that first Easter Day, ought to speak to the fear of people in this lockdown era, looking for real ways ‘with which to talk about the profundities of life and death.’

Somehow, on this Easter morning, I find this empty church speaks to me of the empty grave on the first Easter morning.

The Easter Church must be a community that, after the lockdown, is found willing to grapple with the great issues of life. People do not want to be alone. They are seeking community that responds to the authentic questions of life, death, love, anxiety, longing, and the search for meaning.

The task in mission for the post-lockdown Church is to rush back, like Mary and the other women, to rush back and to fill the empty places in the core of people seeking a ‘real vocabulary with which to talk about the profundities of life and death.’

Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

The Empty Tomb … a fresco in Saint John’s Monastery, Tolleshunt Knights, Essex (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

John 20: 1-18 (NRSVA):

1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ 3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. 4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ 14 When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ 16 Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God”.’ 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

She ‘came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb’ (John 20: 1) … (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Liturgical Colour: White (or Gold).

The Greeting (from Easter Day until Pentecost):

Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Penitential Kyries:

Lord God,
you raised your Son from the dead.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Lord Jesus,
through you we are more than conquerors.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Holy Spirit,
you help us in our weakness.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Collect:

Almighty God,
through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ
you have overcome death
and opened to us the gate of everlasting life:
Grant that, as by your grace going before us
you put into our minds good desires,
so by your continual help we may bring them to good effect;
through Jesus Christ our risen Lord
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Introduction to the Peace:

The Risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said, Peace be with you. Then were they glad when they saw the Lord (John 20: 19, 20).

Preface:

Above all we praise you
for the glorious resurrection of your Son
Jesus Christ our Lord,
the true paschal lamb who was sacrificed for us;
by dying he destroyed our death;
by rising he restored our life:

Post Communion Prayer:

Living God,
for our redemption you gave your only-begotten Son
to the death of the cross,
and by his glorious resurrection
you have delivered us from the power of our enemy.
Grant us so to die daily unto sin,
that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his risen life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing:

God the Father,
by whose glory Christ was raised from the dead,
raise you up to walk with him in the newness of his risen life:

Dismissal: (from Easter Day to Pentecost):

Go in the peace of the Risen Christ. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thanks be to God. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Hymns:

271, Jesus Christ is risen today (CD 17)
286, The strife is o’er, the battle done (CD 17)
288, Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son (CD 17)

Saint Mary Magdalene at Easter Morning … a sculpture by Mary Grant at the west door of Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

Material from the Book of Common Prayer is copyright © 2004, Representative Body of the Church of Ireland.

Praying in Lent and Easter 2021:
47, Resurrection sculptures, Lichfield

Saint Mary Magdalene at Easter Morning … a sculpture by Mary Grant at the west door of Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During the Season of Easter this year, I am continuing my theme from Lent, taking some time each morning to reflect in these ways:

1, photographs of a church or place of worship that has been significant in my spiritual life;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society, Partners in the Gospel).

Today is Easter Day (Sunday 4 April 2021). This week, I am offering photographs of images of the Resurrection from seven churches, some of which I have already visited during the season of Lent.

This morning’s photographs are of the carved images at the west door of Lichfield Cathedral of the ‘holy myrrh-bearers,’ the women who brought spices to the tomb of Christ on Easter morning, preparing to prepare his body for the proper burial that could not take place on Good Friday, and not expecting the Resurrection.

This sculpture of Mary Magdalene at the west door of Lichfield Cathedral is by Mary Grant. Her figures around the central doorway include sculpture of the Virgin Mary, who supports her lifelike infant gently and the two Marys who visit the tomb on Easter morning: on the left is Saint Mary Magdalene, holding ointment; to the right the ‘other Mary’ (Matthew 28: 1) or Mary the Mother of James (Mark 16: 1, Luke 24: 10).

In her composition, Mary Grant links the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child with the two women who visit the grave at Easter morning; the porch of the West Door becomes symbolic of both the cave of birth at Christmas and the grave of death at Easter; the Incarnation leads us on to the Resurrection, Christmas invites us to move towards Easter.

Mary Grant (1831-1908) was once described as ‘one of the busiest of lady-sculptors.’ Her grandfather was Thomas Bruce, the seventh Earl of Elgin, who pilfered the Parthenon Marbles from the Acropolis in Athens and sold them to the British Museum in London.

She studied in Florence, Rome and Paris before setting up a studio in London in the late 1860s. Her works include a portrait of Queen Victoria for India, a bronze bust of the Irish politician Charles Stewart Parnell for the Royal Academy in London, the screen of Winchester Cathedral and the marble reredos in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh.

The figures on the West Door of Lichfield Cathedral, carved by the Victorian sculptor Mary Grant, link Christmas and Easter, the Incarnation and the Resurrection (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

John 20: 1-18 (NRSVA)

1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ 3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. 4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ 14 When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ 16 Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God”.’ 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary:

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (4 April 2021, Easter Day) invites us to pray:

Loving God, we come to you on this day that your Son
broke the bonds of death and rose victoriously from the tomb.
May the risen Christ continue to strengthen us
with the desire to share the good news of Your love for the world.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

The West Front of Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org