From the Vicar
You may be entertained by the fact that I was once young enough to be the Church of England's youth representative at the Conference of European Churches conference in Prague. It was there that I met an Albanian Bishop, who told me of the persecution faced by Christians in his troubled country.
One Easter Day, a man who had been imprisoned for his faith could bear the enforced silence no longer. He rushed to the bars of his cell, and screamed as loudly as he could "Alleluia! Christ is Risen!” And hundreds of voices around the prison echoed in return “He is risen indeed. Alleluia!”. For that statement of faith, the guards burst into his cell, blinded him, and then killed him. But his faith in the risen Christ had given him a freedom which even his captivity could not take away.
About 20 years ago, I took a weekday service at a church which wasn’t my own. It was the week after Easter. I walked in, bowed to the altar, turned and faced the congregation and said “Alleluia! Christ is risen!”. Nothing. Not a word, just blank, hostile stares. I tried again, and this time got a few muttered responses. I persisted throughout the service, and later that day encountered a retired colleague. He greeted me with his broadest grin and said "I met Gladys so-and-so a few minutes ago" he said. She said “We had your vicar this morning, and he ruined that lovely Easter service for us”. “Why?” “Because he kept putting Alleluias in all over the place”.
Many of us will be feeling various degrees of imprisonment right now. But let us not allow our Alleluias to be confined too. Let's be determined to live lives with Alleluias all over the place. For the Lord is Risen indeed - and his empty tomb bears witness to the fullness of his Risen Life.