Easter Day, 16th April 2016
Some of you will know that I did my curacy in the parish of Aston and Nechells, in inner city Birmingham. It was a team ministry, comprising 3 churches, in one of the poorest parts of the city. All our congregations were ‘black majority’ churches, and most of our members were from ethnic minorities.
During each of our services we would have a slot called, ‘What’s God been doing?’, during which members of the congregation would come to the front, and give ‘testimonies’ about answers to prayer, or ways in which they’d seen God at work in the past week. It was a really important part of the service, as most of the congregation didn’t have any sort of ‘voice’ in the world, from a human point of view.
And I remember very clearly a gentle, sweet man named Dave, who would come to the front most Sundays. Dave was in his 60s, and with learning disabilities; and his great hobby was coach spotting. Each Sunday we’d hear about coaches he’d spotted, and places he’d visited; and it seemed a slightly unusual interpretation of ‘What’s God been doing in your life this week?’.
But I clearly remember one Easter morning at St. James’ church in Aston. We’d sung our Easter hymns, and proclaimed, ‘The Lord is risen; he is risen indeed; hallelujah!’. Then Dave came up to give his testimony for that week. And I was wondering how I might make a link between Easter and coach spotting when he’d finished…..
But then he spoke some words I’ve never forgotten, and which now come to me every Easter Sunday morning. Dave came to the front and said, ‘I just wanted to say, I’m proud of my Lord today’. And I found myself in tears. What better understanding of Easter can we find than, ‘I’m proud of my Lord today’?
Revd Beverly Watson, Vicar of All Saints’