Sermon preached at Mattins on the Seventh Sunday of Easter (2 June) by Dr Paula Gooder, Chancellor

Today at the Cathedral View More
12:00pm Doors open for sightseeing
12:30pm Eucharist
4:00pm Last entry for sightseeing
5:00pm Evening Prayer
5:30pm Cathedral closes

Sermon preached at Mattins on the Seventh Sunday of Easter (2 June) by Dr Paula Gooder, Chancellor

On the final Sunday of Eastertide, the Chancellor reflects on the church seasons and how they invite us to savour and reflect.

This week my youngest daughter, like many other school children across the UK, has been enjoying a week’s holiday. And I, like so many other parents across the county, have been trying to suggest that alongside all the fun she should consider tidying her bedroom. Eventually, yesterday, my efforts paid off. During the course of this to her great delight she found a final, as yet, overlooked Easter egg. As she opened it with enthusiasm, she said ‘Can I still eat it? I can barely remember Easter it was such a long time ago.’

It was only after I had reassured her that it was absolutely fine to eat it – there are after all still a full seven days of the Easter season to go – that I realised from the look on her face that she was asking whether it had gone off, not, as I had wrongly assumed, how church seasons work. You may be as uninterested in church seasons as my daughter is, and if you are, I apologise, not least because unlike her you have no chocolate to snack on while I talk, but there is something here worth reflecting on for a few moments.

For most of us the word Easter conjures up a single day or at most the Easter weekend. Within the Church it refers to something much longer a full 50 days – the period between Easter Sunday 43 days ago and our commemoration of the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in 7 days’ time.  

Church seasons unfold slowly – they may begin on a single day but then are recalled, remembered and relished day after day for weeks at a time. Next Sunday (Pentecost Sunday) brings the Easter season to a close and ushers us into the longest season of the whole Christian year – Ordinary time which takes 33 weeks to come to completion.

In contrast, the world we live in whirls onwards at breakneck speed. No sooner does something happen than it has sped by, a new event hot on its heels. Ideas and opinions are formed swiftly and discarded just as fast. As we try to keep up with this ever quickening pace, we can easily grow weary and disillusioned, worn thin by the constant demands on our minds and attention.

The Church year invites us to step off the treadmill, to take our time, to allow ideas to develop slowly and then to stay in our hearts as we savour them. It reminds us that there is no rush, that we do not need to comprehend everything all at once, and that even if after 50 long days of contemplation we have still not understood it all – there is always next year and the one after that.  

Loving God,
With you a day is like a thousand years
And a thousand years are like a single day,
Teach us this day and every day, 
the peace that can be found in stillness,
the respite that comes from patience
and the rest for our restless hearts than can be found in you
we ask this through your son Jesus Christ, Amen.

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all, ever more. Amen.