LAST Sunday morning, I got up at 5am.
It’s not that I couldn’t sleep, I wasn’t woken by some noise outside the house, and my children hadn’t disturbed me.
No, I got up at 5am because it was Easter Day.
At 6am, you see, a group of people from St Faith’s in Lee-on-the-Solent gathered on the beach at Lee to remember the first Easter, nearly 2,000 years ago, when Jesus rose from the dead.
‘Why start so early?’ I hear you say.
Good question! Well, back at that first Easter, Mary Magdalene, one of Jesus’s friends, went to his tomb ‘while it was still dark’.
When she got there, she found that the big stone which had been placed over the tomb entrance had been rolled away, and Jesus’ body was gone.
Not long after, Mary met Jesus, alive again.
Because Mary got up early that first Easter, to go to Jesus’ tomb, some Christians like to start early on Easter Day.
We get up while it’s still dark, like Mary did, and we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead.
That 6am service on the beach wasn’t the only celebration we had on Easter Day.
For those who prefer a bit more sleep, at St Faith’s we also had services at 8am, 9.30am, 11am and 6pm – and I was at all of them!
They were brilliant.
As you can imagine, by the end of the day, I was exhausted.
But I was also very happy, because Easter Day is the biggest celebration of the Christian faith.
It’s much more important than Christmas.
Why? Because if Jesus had died on Good Friday and then stayed dead, he is just another in the long list of people the Romans killed.
A dead Jesus might have said some nice things during his life, but he’s no good to us now.
If Jesus stayed dead, Christianity is nothing.
But that’s not what Christians believe happened.
We believe not even death could keep Jesus down.
We believe he rose again, and is still alive today.
We believe that’s the best news ever.
And so on Easter Day we celebrate, starting early.
n ST FAITH’S CHURCH, is in Victoria Square, Lee-on- the-Solent.
Sunday services are at 8am Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion and 9.30am is the Parish Eucharist.
11am is the Sundays@11 all-age service and 6pm is the Evening Prayer.