Verse of the Day

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The week before Easter, commonly called Holy Week and Easter Sunday

This report covers Holy Week and Easter Sunday. 

Holy Week
The week starting on Palm Sunday and continuing through the Saturday before Easter is commonly called Holy Week and the week in which the passion of our Savior is commemorated.  The week starts with the Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem and ends with the death of the Savior on the Cross and the burial of His body in the tomb.  It is a week of ups and downs without parallel and precedes the most joyous day of the year, the Day of the Resurrection or Easter Sunday.

Jesus has a triumphant entry into the city on the First Day of the Week (Sunday); on Thursday night he celebrates the Passover with his disciples in the Upper Room, he prays and agonizes over what he knows is coming in the garden of Gethsemane; Judas betrays him early Friday morning, his most trusted disciple denies him; the Jews condemn him to Pilate who in turn orders him to be beaten and humiliated; that does not satisfy the Jews and at their request, Pilate condemns a man he knows to be innocent to a horrible death to pacify the crowd of Jews assembled by the priests; Jesus is crucified, asks John to take care of his mother and gives up the ghost; his body is taken down and buried; the disciples are dispersed and discouraged; they have listened to their Lord, but not understood.

Think of this week from the disciples’ perspective, on the first day they enter with their leader into Jerusalem in triumph; mid-week they celebrate the joyous feast of the Passover, then their leader is betrayed, defends himself not and is killed.  At the time they surely could not think of this as a Holy Week and certainly not a Good Friday.  Yet on the first day of the week that follows, our Lord is Risen, Risen indeed and delivers the promise of salvation in person.

What a week!

On Monday, Jesus preached in the Temple and further distanced Himself from the people’s vision and demonstrated God’s vision.  He went in to the temple and through out the vendors selling “sacrificial” birds and animals at exorbitant cost, as well as the moneychangers, changing Roman money for Temple money dishonestly.  Far from announcing Himself head of the temple, He announced they had made His Father’s house a den of thieves.  Rather than working within the Jewish establishment, He over turned it!

Jesus and the Pharisees dispute in the Temple. He left for the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. There he delivers the “Mount of Olives Discourse”. Judas agrees to betray him to the Jewish priests for 30 pieces of silver.

The Sanhedrin was gathered together and decided to kill Jesus, even before Pesach if possible. In the meantime, Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper. Here he was anointed on his head by Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, with very expensive ointment of spikenard. Some of the disciples, particularly Judas Iscariot, keeper of the purse, were indignant about this; the oil could have been sold to support the poor.  “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.”  In this case, Judas recalls to mind many politicians.  Jesus reminded them of the importance of first things first and the futility of giving, rather than helping, when He said in Matthew 26.11 “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.”  Judas went to the Sanhedrin and offered them his support in exchange for silver. From this moment on Judas was looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus. Judas spied on Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane where he came on his plan.

Maundy Thursday
At the Passover Feast, Jesus and his disciples share the “Last Supper” and He washes their feet. Jesus blesses his bread and wine as his flesh and blood and shares it with his disciples, the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion. As Paul tells us in his First Letter to the Corinthians, “…the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”

At this same dinner, the disciples manage to quarrel over who should be the boss of who.  Jesus tells them he came in the roll of a servant, as He is their master, their role is likewise that of servants.  In a move designed to reveal both His knowledge aforehand and our frailty, He tells Peter that Peter will deny Him thrice fore the cock croweth, or dawn breaks.  Peter, a loyal follower, denies what will be shown as clear fact.  Remember the further you let yourself get from the Lord, the weaker you are.  Weakness grows with the cube of the distance.  Stay close.

As the dinner goes on, Jesus tells them one of them will betray Him.  Not able to grasp that any of them would literally betray Him, each asks, “Is it I?”  Judas knows.

Jesus tells the disciples things are heating up, counsels them to arm themselves and goes out to pray in the garden of Gethsemane.  Disciples come with Him, despite their best efforts, they fall asleep.  Night has long fallen, the end of the day is near by our reckoning.  The end is near for Jesus here on earth.  Even nearer for Judas.

Good Friday
Good Friday was the day in which Jesus was tried by the Jews, tried by Pilate, condemned, crucified, died and was buried[1].  Except in hindsight, this was not a Good Friday at all.

In the early hours before sunup, Jesus is betrayed by the “Judas Kiss” and arrested. At sunrise, he is disowned by Peter thrice before the cock croweth. When brought before Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest, and his Council, he is condemned. He says that he will rise from death after three days.

They hand him over to the Roman authority, Pontius Pilate, who sends him to Herod (Antipas, the son of Herod the Great). Then Pilate asks the crowd who he is to pardon: a murderer, or Jesus? The crowd chooses Barabas and Jesus is sentenced to death. Pilate’s actions made famous the line, “I wash my hands of this.”  While he might have attempted to wash the guilt for the murder of the world’s one truly innocent man on to the Jews, he remains the one who condemned him to death.  Pilate was nothing if not a politician and bureaucrat.  The condemnation was to him the simplest solution to the problem of a Jewish hierarchy’s manufactured crowd’s anger.  What was the death of one Jew to him?  Yet he was worried enough to attempt to wash his hands of the guilt.

Jesus is brought to Calvary, where on the “third hour” (9 am) he is crucified. He is mocked as he hangs between the Bad Thief and the Good Thief, whom he blesses. On the “sixth hour” (noon), darkness covers the land. Jesus cries out “My God, My God, hast Thou forsaken Me? ”

After drinking wine, he commits his spirit to his Father and dies. Matthew reports an earthquake that destroys the Temple. Many understand now that Jesus was the Son of God. His body is taken down and anointed. He is buried in a new tomb donated by Joseph of Arimethea. This is the first day of death.

Dru Arnold read the Epistle for Good Friday, which comes from the Tenth Chapter of Saint Paul’s letter to the Hebrews beginning at the First Verse.

HE law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices, which they offered year by year continually, make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: in burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt-offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God: he taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from hence-forth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; then saith he, And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Deacon Jack Arnold read the Gospel.  Much like the Gospel for Palm Sunday, if you imagine yourself there it will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up at points.  The Gospel came from the Nineteenth Chapter of the Gospel according to Saint John beginning at the First Verse:

ILATE therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, and said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; and went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Cæsar. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment-seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Cæsar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city; and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every sol-dier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

Sermon – Time and Action
Good Friday’s sermon is contained in the BC strip below.  It pretty much covers the meaning of Good Friday.  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3.16

Holy Saturday
The Jewish Council remembers his vow to return and has the tomb guarded and sealed with a heavy stone. Second day of death. From the time Jesus left his body on the cross until the resurrection, little is known.  It is said in the Apostle’s Creed that “He descended into hell”, where he did battle with the Devil for our souls, a battle the Devil was destined to lose.

Easter Sunday
On the third day of death, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary find the tomb empty, but for an angel who tells them Jesus is already resurrected and is on His way to Galilee. On their way to tell the others, Jesus appears to them.  Death is conquered, the Promise delivered.  Our lives from this day forward are eternal!

Think about the Week that was!
The reason Jesus came to Jerusalem at the Passover was to take the place of the yearly sacrifice by one perfect sacrifice, one time, for all time and for all mankind. His was the blood marking our door that the destroyer might pass over.  The week started on a triumphant note and ended up trying to do between there were windows into the future, glimpses of the past, moments of despair, moments of terror, moments of confusion; but in the end joy and the ultimate triumph.

Easter Sunday

Today we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, “Christ the Lord IS Risen today!”  Our sunrise temperature on Mount Olympus was a reasonable 40°F which rose to a lovely 55°F under puffy clouds and sunny skies.  In celebration of Easter, we had a Sonrise service which started at 1030.  Hey, this is California, how early do you expect!  Plus, a number of our people have long way to come, we had three people for service!

Gathering Song
Jack Arnold played Hymn 85 – Jesus Christ is Risen Today for the gathering song.

Hymn 85 – Jesus Christ is risen today

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

But the pains that he endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He's King, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

We try to pick our gathering songs to have a wonderful message, be easy to sing and suitable for guitar accompaniment.  What better song for Easter than the one for which the day is named?

Each Sunday there are Propers: special prayers and readings from the Bible.  There is a Collect for the Day; that is a single thought prayer, most written either before the re-founding of the Church of England in the 1540s or written by Bishop Thomas Cranmer, the first Archbishop of Canterbury after the re-founding. 

The Collect for the Day is to be read on Sunday and during Morning and Evening Prayer until the next Sunday. The Epistle is normally a reading from one of the various Epistles, or letters, in the New Testament.  The Gospel is a reading from one of the Holy Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  The Collect is said by the minister as a prayer, the Epistle can be read by either a designated reader (as we do in our church) or by one of the ministers and the Holy Gospel, which during the service in our church is read by an ordained minister or our Deacon Striker.

The propers are the same each year, except if a Red Letter Feast, that is one with propers in the prayerbook, falls on a Sunday, then those propers are to be read instead, except in a White Season, where it is put off.  Red Letter Feasts, so called because in the Altar Prayerbooks the titles are in red, are special days.  Most of the Red Letter Feasts are dedicated to early saints instrumental in the development of the church, others to special events.  Some days are particularly special and the Collect for that day is to be used for an octave (eight days) or an entire season, like Advent or Lent.

The Propers for today are found on Page 163-164, with the Collect first:

Easter Sunday.
The Collect.

LMIGHTY God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end.  Amen.

¶ This Collect is to be said daily throughout Easter Week.

Dru Arnold read the Epistle, which came from Saint Paul’s letter to the Colossians, beginning at the First Verse of the Third Chapter:

f ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 

As usual, Paul is exhorting us to be the New Man, to put away the trappings of the old and go forward.  He asks us to do what anyone who is successful does, hang around with those you want to be like in the end and to emulate their actions.  In this case rather that earthly success, Paul is helping prepare us for eternal success through salvation.

Hap Arnold read the Holy Gospel which came from the Twentieth Chapter of the Gospel of Saint John beginning at the First Verse.  It is the straightforward accounting of the discovery by Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter and John that the Lord was risen indeed.

he first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

Sermon – Reverend Deacon Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 

Today is Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The central event of not only the Christian Year; but of Christianity and the entire world.  Witness the terms AD and BC.  Anno Domini and Before Christ.

 Consider these words from the Collect:

… Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect…

In the Collect, we acknowledge that God sent His Son to be our Savior to give us eternal life.  We ask His Help that our hearts might desire good and with His Help put those desires into action so that we might accept that eternal life offered us by that same Jesus Christ.

Paul then tells us, if we say we are with Christ, we must act with Him.  We must continually seek to better our selves by setting our sights on Him in heaven and guiding our actions by Him, by associating with others like minded.  We must turn our backs on this earth if we truly face heaven. As Jesus reminds us  in Matthew 6:24 One cannot serve two masters.” We must choose Him or Mammon. I know which one I choose, hopefully you do too as well.

When we come to Holy Week, we find a triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, triumphant in the eyes of the beholders, not the center of the action.  The crowd, with some of the same people who later condemned Him, welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem with the expectation He came to free them from the Roman yoke, to hold them up, to put their feet on the Romans’ necks.  Yet, He knew where He was going and what would happen. He was in control of the action, he knew what was going to happen. He would not have done the plan if He didn’t know that it would work. He knew that the end result would be a success, but He also knew that there would be a lot of pain and suffering involved on the road to His resurrection.

As He saw the road ahead was filled with obstacles, the pain and suffering, so too, do we know that it will be filled with hard times and suffering also. But like He, we must preserve on the straight and narrow path, refusing to ever give up. He never gave up on us, so why should we give up on Him? 

The week built towards the First Day of the First Week of the New Covenant.   Jesus knew what He was doing.

Reflect on this, during World War II on D-Day, the first waves were National Guard and new recruits.  No veterans of Torch, Norway or Dieppe.  Why?  Because all the soldiers were patriots and all were ready to defend their country; but like Peter, the new guys did not know what that really meant.

Crucifixion, a cruel painful death.  Painful beyond our comprehension.  Think about the mechanics of being nailed to a cross.  Think about that.  Then think about the descent into hell to do battle with the devil.  Think about that.  No matter what you imagine, like D-Day the reality exceeded the expectation. 

Yet Jesus, being God, knew exactly what He was volunteering for.  And He rode towards the sound of gunfire. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  John 15.13

Jesus went with full knowledge aforethought where no one would go – FOR YOU, FOR ME, FOR US.  That is Good Friday’s lesson.

Today, The Resurrection, Easter or as it is called in Spanish, Dia de la Resurreccion, is the day that the promise of everlasting life was delivered. It is the completion of the sacrifice He made for us on Good Friday, it is His triumphant return from the depths of Hell, having procured an eternal victory for all of those who would truly follow Him and act upon His name.

This one perfect sacrifice, one time, for all time and for all mankind was made for YOU.  All you need to do to get the benefit is follow Christ.  So, what does that mean?  See John 14.23:  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

It is not if you attend church or not that makes you a Christian, it is if you do what He asks of you.  Going to church just gives you help and encouragement.  It makes you part of a team, part of a coherent unit.  After all, the more people there are in a group like the church, the more stable it will be. And more stable also will our spiritual lives be if we have friends and family involved in it as well, to keep us on that straight and narrow path.

Today, you have a choice, just like every day.  Today you can be a Christer, that is one who celebrates Christmas and Easter, or you can be a Christian.  One who follows Christ.

If you choose being a Christian, be prepared for constant failure and shortfall of goal.  So long as you do your best and never give up Christ will account you as perfect when it counts.

Today, the first day in Eternity or another day off your life towards death.  Your choice.  Jesus made His, you make yours.

When the time comes, how will you ACT?

It is by our actions we are known.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God
Bishop Ogles’ Sermon
We are oft fortunate to get copies of Bishop Jerry’s sermon notes.  Today is one of those Sundays.  Today’s sermon starts off with the collect, and like always, it will give you a lot to consider in your heart.

Sermon Notes
Easter Sunday
31 March 2013, Anno Domini!

Easter Sunday.
The Collect.

LMIGHTY God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end.  Amen.

The Gospel
HEN the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the Mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid. (St. Mark xvi. 1 - 8)
            It is pitiful to observe how afraid and fearful were the women who found and empty Tomb. It is absolutely the most beautiful thing that has ever happened for the benefit of man – that the Tomb of Jesus was empty! How often do we observe the wonder of the God's work and mistake it for a thing fearful and sad. Fear locks our mouth and stops our testimony. Is it not a wonderful thing to find an empty Tomb and a Risen Lord in lieu of a dead and lifeless body? Perhaps it was their fear and momentary loss of faith that prevented Christ from immediately appearing to them. But can we fault these courageous ladies very much? They lingered at the foot of the cross with John when many others of the disciples were in hiding. They were the ones who followed the body to the Garden Tomb (on loan from Joseph of Arimathaea) and watched there until the Tomb was made sure. 61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre. (Matt 27:61) Perhaps it was AMAZEMENT more than anything else that caused their reaction. How can we proclaim such an overwhelmingly marvelous thing?
            It is true that we often disregard even the counsel of angels in our fears. The great Angel spoke to them and, as usual, prefaced his words with "Be not affrighted." There was no cause for fear, but there WAS great cause for joy. Sometimes we tend to mix our emotions in the wrong way. When God's Hand moves to the healing of His people, should our hearts not brim with love and joy! But the circumstances simply overwhelmed the women. As my mother used to say, "They were beside themselves." NEVER did they expect to see what they found. First, the Stone was rolled back. It would take many strong men to perform that task. Fortunately, there were guards there to insure that no man's hand broke the Roman seal. But the great Angel rolled away the Stone with little effort.  Secondly, the women entered a Tomb that was not yet completely empty – there was only an Angel there to greet their fears. Thirdly, the Angel spoke kind words to allay their foreboding fear. Fourthly, the Angel told them that Christ was risen. Should we not believe an Angel when all evidence supports his claim? He even showed them the place where Christ had laid.
            Fourthly, the Angel told them something that demonstrated the sweet graces of the Balm of Gilead. You will recall that Peter has suffered for these three days the awful pain of having renounced the Lord his God before the court of the Sanhedrin. 56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. 57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. 58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. 59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. 60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:56-62) The look of Christ was not one of reproach, but of deep disappointment – that disappointment one feels when his best friend has ruthlessly betrayed him. How this look had plagued poor Peter. How he despised himself, and ached in the depths of his heart. If he could only take his words back! The Angel told the women: But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee. Did you catch the grace-laden meaning of this comment, friends? "…tell his disciples and Peter" Though His hands of mercy were driven through with iron spikes, His feet nailed to the cross, a crown of thorns for a crown, and the ridicule of the multitudes to welcome His gaze, the Lord knew the agony of Peter, and addressed it with love and forgiveness. The angel did not send news to the disciples ONLY, but specifically to Peter – the only name mentioned for the sake of emphasis.
            Though we should be pained by our sins, Christ addressed our failings on the cross in the same way that He sent word to the suffering Peter – "you have not been renounced by ME, though I was renounced by you. My heart is too great to harbor vengeance against one who loves me and hurts me out of fear." Though we know and love Christ, our sinful nature may often cause us to renounce Him through our weakened flesh. We carelessly may recite the Lord's Prayer and not mean a word of it. We may enter church as a social feast rather than as an occasion to worship in reverence for the One who bled and died for us.
            Our Roman friends have come to the Tomb in the same way the women came. They seek and worship a dead body on the cross. But He is no there. He is risen! They erroneously believe that Christ must be sacrificed anew at every Mass they celebrate. But the Lord's Table is not an altar, but the Table of the Lord whereby we are fed in the glorious elements of Bread and Wine to signify His spiritual presence in His Body and Blood. The great truth that may escape our understanding is that we, too, are a portion of His Body broken for the Kingdom. Both the Old, and New, Testament Church are the Body of Christ nourished by that Blood shed for us more than two thousand years ago. Abraham knew it, Isaac illustrated it, and all others who looked forward to the promise (as we look back to the accomplished fact) constitute the Body of Christ.
            The Gospel ends today a bit awkwardly, for it leaves, on Easter morning, the women fearful. But, thanks be to God, the narrative continues in the next several verses:
9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. 10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. 12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. 14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. (Mark 16:9-20)
            I have added these verses for a purpose. First, because these verses alleviate our fears and give us hope in the sure knowledge of the resurrection of Christ; and, secondly, because, if you are using one of the phony new translations such as the NIV, those last nine verses are enclosed in parentheses. The authors of these errant bibles then stipulate, falsely, in the footnote that these verses do not appear in the more ancient and reliable manuscripts.  They refer, of course, to the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus which do not even agree in many points with each other and which leave entire passages blank on the manuscript page. These constitute only 5% of manuscript evidence while the Textus Receptus of the Reformation agree in all points and constitute 95% of all manuscript evidence. The Thirty Nine Articles require the commonly received text upon which the KJV, the Geneva Bible, and all Reformed Bibles are based.
            Question: Do you believe these last nine verses should be omitted, as the NIV and others suggest? If you do not know, find out!

Bishop Dennis Campbell’s Sermon
Bishop Dennis is a brilliant speaker.  He is able to take biblical precepts and make them perfectly understandable, even to me.  Oft he provides the text of his sermons and I take the utmost pleasure in passing them on:

He IS Risen
Easter Sunday
March 31, 2013

It is almost impossible to overstate the influence, the good influence of the Bible on the culture of the entire world.  It is still the all time best seller.  It has shaped the values and thoughts of billions of people in the past, and it still does today.  It has shaped the language of the world, and many of our favourite words and phrases have come right out of its pages.  "Eye of a needle," "twinkling of an eye," and "the spirit of the law," are some that come to mind.

The words of the Bible bring God's message to us.  They tell us of our creation, fall into sin, and the promise of the Saviour.  It is through the Bible that we learn that Christ's death was the sacrifice for our sins.  It is the Bible that tells us whosoever believes in Him has everlasting life, that is, life with Him in Heaven forever.

Of all the words of the Bible, none are more important than the words, "He is risen."    This is because everything depends on the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.  On it depends the validity of the Gospel, and the entire Bible.  It is the seal and proof of everything else the Bible teaches.  This is why it is constantly under attack.  If it stands, then all that Christ taught and promised are ours.  If it falls, the entire Christian faith also falls.

The resurrection is the seal and proof of the incarnation.

One of the main points of the Bible is that Christ is God.  John's Gospel tells us, "In beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God."  A little later that same Gospel tells us "the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory." "If ye have seen Me ye have seen the Father," He said. "I and the Father are One,"

But if Jesus could forever be held in death, He could not be God.  In a very real sense, Jesus was not killed by men.  Death did not have power over Him until He allowed it.  He had the power to lay down His life and to take it up again.  But if He had not had that power, death would have been stronger than He, and death cannot be stronger than God.  Only if Jesus rose again can He be truly Divine, so His resurrection proves that He is indeed, God with us, the word become flesh.

The resurrection is the seal and proof of the atonement.

Who can forgive sins, but God? asked Christ. Yet He claimed the power to forgive sins.  Who can give a ransome for his sins: asked David, yet  Jesus  came to give His life as the ransome for our sins.  He paid the price of our sins, by dying for them on the cross.  In Him, God was reconciling the world unto Himself.

But if He is still in the grave, His death accomplished nothing for us, for He is not God.

The resurrection is the seal and proof of Heaven.

The first verses of the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, is one of my favourite passages of Scripture.

"Let not your hearts be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, to receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.  Thomas saith unto Him, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

A dead man cannot do this.  Only a Living God can accomplish this for us.  If Christ is not raised from the dead, if He is not risen, then we who have trusted Him to take us to Heaven, and all our hopes for eternal joy, are vanity.


But He is risen.  Thus all that He has promised is real.  He is God.  He died for our sins.  He has prepared a place for us to dwell with Him in joy and peace, forever.  Thanks be to God, He is risen.
+Dennis Campbell

Bishop, Anglican Orthodox Church Diocese of Virginia
Rector, Holy Trinity Anglican Orthodox Church
Powhatan, Virginia
Rev Bryan Dabney of Saint John’s Sunday Sermon
We are fortunate to have Bryan’s Sunday Sermon.  If you want people to come to The Truth, you have to speak the truth, expouse the truth and live the truth.    This is really a good piece and I commend it to your careful reading.

Easter Sunday

There is an old sci-fi film where the dead return to life that opens with the trademark quote, “They’re coming for you, Barbara.” Per a purely secular understanding of resurrection, the dead come back as monsters wreaking havoc and chaos. There is no salvific quality to their return. There is no grace or mercy in their character. Thus, the concept of resurrection to profane man is a horror story told to excite and frighten the viewer. Lucifer loves to scare and terrify humanity, so we should not be surprised that he would create his own resurrection story that reveals his vision of what ought to happen to the living at the hands of the dead.

But the Christian message of resurrection is far and away different in its character and presentation. Consider our gospel lesson for today (St. John 20:1- 10), as it permits us to look back in time nearly two thousand years to that garden tomb where our Lord was laid following his crucifixion. Here we learn that Mary Magdalene had come to the tomb to finish the preparation of our Lord’s body for burial as the beginning of the Sabbath observance had precluded her final efforts on his behalf. There was concern in her heart over the removal of the great stone which was set over the entrance, and the Roman guard that had been placed there by the governor. When she arrived, she found the stone rolled away and the body missing. She likely witnessed the Roman guard lying on the ground as if dead themselves (St. Matthew 28). In the other gospel accounts (St. Matthew 28; St. Mark 16; St. Luke 24), she was accompanied by two other women when she encountered an angel who commanded her to go an tell the disciples of our Lord’s resurrection. Later, upon her return to the tomb, she met the risen Lord who comforted her.

The disciples at first did not believe Mary and the other women; but when they pressed their message, Peter and John went to the place only to discover that what they had said was in fact true, and were astonished beyond reason. The guard force had departed, the tomb had indeed been opened, the linen cloth in which our Lord was wrapped for burial was lying separate from the cloth that had been placed over his head. What had transpired would forever mark that moment as the most important event in human history. There is an old spiritual which opens with the words, O happy day and such aptly describes the meaning of Easter for the faithful. And so we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, whose propitiatory act on the cross at Calvary secured for all true believers everlasting life in God’s kingdom. What a gift we were given when his tomb was opened. St. Paul noted in I Corinthians 15:20-22, But is now Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. Before our coming to Christ, we were dead in our sins and trespasses (Ephesians 2:1). We were without hope (I Thessalonians 4:13). Then Christ Jesus came into the world to save that which was lost (St. Luke 19:10). He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly (St. John 10:10).

The agony and the terrible treatment of our Lord had been foretold in both prophecy and in the psalms (Isaiah 52 and 53; Psalm 22). At Calvary, the price for our redemption was paid (Romans 6:23), the Messiah was cut off (Daniel 9:26), he descended into the depths of the earth, and returned bringing with him a multitude of souls and fulfilling the promise of redemption to those of faith under the old covenant (Ephesians 4:8-10). With his resurrection came departed saints who were also seen by many in Jerusalem (St. Matthew 27:52, 53).

Now the natural response to claims of those rising from the dead ranges from skepticism to downright unbelief (St. Luke 24:11). But God does not yield to the opinions of man. Our Lord’s appearance to those on the road to Emmaus, to the disciples that evening while they ate together in fear, and to Thomas some days hence, speaks volumes as to the reason for our Lord’s coming into the world— to save sinners. Hear now the words of St. Paul, And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief (St. Timothy 1:12-15).

St. Paul was once a devout Jew known as Saul of Tarsus who had sought to round up as many Christians as he could find and then take them to Jerusalem for punishment at the hands of the Temple authorities. What a shock it was for him to learn that the very God he thought he was serving, he was in fact persecuting. What agony of spirit he must have felt knowing that the very Messiah he had sought was Jesus of Nazareth: who had been crucified by the Romans; who had acknowledged that he is the Son of God (St. Mark 14:61-63). What pain he must have felt and guilt for his misdeeds. We know that St. Paul confessed his belief that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, and that he did indeed repent of his sins and trespasses. We also know that afterwards, he lived a new life of obedience: teaching others about God’s mercy, grace and love which came through the meritorious life, death and resurrection of his only begotten Son.

And so for Christians, the empty tomb is not a horror story. It is not designed to engender fear or excite a morbid curiosity about the dead. It ought to stir up within all who hear the gospel an earnest desire to obtain that true faith which will save one from the horrors of an afterlife without God. Truly death and hell are to be feared and for the mass of unregenerated mankind who knows only of this life, the mere threat of death can paralyze them into inaction and passivity. That is what makes horror movies so terrifying: when one dies, one loses the only possibility for happiness and pleasure as found in the here and now. But for the Christian, death is only the door to an eternity with God. The empty tomb sets forth our Lord’s power over death, hell and the grave as we have been ransomed — our debt paid— so that we will not have to experience the darkness, gloom and torments of perdition. No, Christ has closed that door and opened the way to a glorious life in the Kingdom of God for all who believe on his name and trust in his atoning work as the Messiah.

So the next time you watch a horror film, have a look at those around you. The angst about dying and being tormented for eternity may not be seen so much on the faces of those who do not know the salvation of our God as it is written on the hearts. They likely are, in a negative way, living vicariously through the victims of the story being told on the screen. They likely have an inkling in their hearts that at the moment of their death, they will be ushered into a place of terror beyond their feeble ability to comprehend. Sure, some movies are pretty horrifying, but to the Christian, they have no lasting impact because we know where we are bound after this life apart from the coming of the Lord. For us, it is just a movie; but for the unregenerate it is another fearful reminder that their lives could end and then where will they be?

I implore you now, if there be any of you who have not made a commitment to accept the free gift of salvation from our Lord, now is the time. God has been calling on you to come to his throne of grace so answer the call. Believe in the truth of the empty tomb: that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Believe on Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Prince of Peace and the Author and finisher of your faith, who now sits in heaven at the right hand of the Father. Believe on his atoning sacrifice as the only means of your salvation. And if you believe and accept these things, then you must live in accordance with his will as found within the pages of Holy Scripture. We walk by faith and not by sight. Nevertheless, we walk and carry on as good soldiers in Christ Jesus, wearing the armour he has supplied us and bearing the weapons of our warfare which he has so equipped us as his soldiering saints. The empty tomb is his witness and our hope. Let us then go boldly forth in faith for we know that our Lord lives, and through him we shall also live forever in his coming kingdom.

Let us pray,

Ather, we thank you that the tomb which held the body of thy Son is an empty one; for by means of his resurrection, we have the blessed assurance of our own; bless us also with thy Spirit, that we might better witness the same to others; for this we ask in the name of him whom Death, Hell and the grave could not hold, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Have a blessed week, Bryan+

From Rev. Geordie Menzies- Grierson
It was a beautiful spring day, and a sense of peace stayed with me as I left the cathedral on Easter Monday morning. I paused for a moment on top of the steps leading to the avenue, now crowded with people rushing to their jobs. Sitting in her usual place inside a small archway was the old flower lady. At her feet, corsages and boutonnieres were parading on top of a spread-open newspaper.
The flower lady was smiling, her wrinkled old face alive with some inner joy. I started down the stairs–then on an impulse, turned and picked out a flower.
As I put it in my lapel, I said, “You look happy.”
“Why not?’ she answered. “Everything is good.”
She was dressed so shabbily and seemed so very old that her reply started me. “You’ve been sitting here for many years now, haven’t you? And always smiling. You wear your troubles well.”
“You can’t reach my age and not have troubles,” she replied. “only it’s like Jesus and Good Friday….” She paused for a moment.
“Yes?” I prompted
“Well, when Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, that was the worst day for the whole world. When I get troubles I remember that, and then I think of what happened only three days later-Easter and our Lord rose from the dead. So when things go wrong, I’ve learned to wait days and somehow everything gets much better.”
She smiled good-bye, but her words still follow me whenever I think I have troubles… “Give God a chance to help…wait three days.”
- – - written by Patt Barnes
Where did the term Easter come from?
Scholars variously attribute the name "Easter" to a derivation from Eostra (a Scandinavian goddess of dawn or spring) or Ostern (a Teutonic fertility goddess), both pagan figures honored at festivals celebrating the vernal equinox, about the time of the Passover. Traditions associated with these festivals include the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility; and Easter eggs, painted with the bright colors of spring, signifying growth and new life, concepts associated with the resurrection.  Hence the name and symbols came to be associated with the festival of the Resurrection of Christ, which occurred at the time of the Passover. In the early English versions this word was frequently used as the translation of the Greek pascha (the Passover). When the Authorized Version (1611) was formed, the word "Passover" was used in all passages in which this word pascha occurred, except in Acts 12:4 where the word Easter was used.

Easter is a Movable Feast
The Easter holiday builds on the traditions of the Jewish festival of Passover, or Pesach (the derivation of Pascha, another name for Easter), celebrating deliverance of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt.  Passover begins on Thursday, when we're reminded that Jesus traveled with His followers to Jerusalem in observation of the feast He came to fulfill.  In an effort to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord at the same time of year, before the calendar was standardized and synchronized to the solar year, Easter became a movable feast and is the lynchpin for the other movable feasts which take their dates from Easter.  Victor I (c.189-198AD) standardized Easter as a Sunday holiday, and in 325AD the Council of Nicaea set Easter's date in relation to the paschal moon. The Gregorian calendar correction of 1582AD placed Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox, falling between 22 March and 25 April.  If the fourteenth day happens on a Sunday, Easter day is the Sunday after.

A term long forgotten
Easter Dues – Unique to the Church of England, of which our Anglican Church is a direct descendant - Money due to the clergy at Easter, formerly paid in communication of the tithe for personal labor and subject to exaction.  For Easter dues, Easter offerings, voluntary gifts, have been substituted.  In the case of this parish, the minister is given an entire month’s pay as Easter Dues!  But, before he gets too excited, he reflects that is actually two times zero, which is yet still zero!

I’d like to get a different point across or announce something
If you have a different point of view, I would be happy to give you room to get your point across.  While this publication is my perspective on events, I recognize not everyone may agree and that some people would like to express their own opinion.  If you want to write something, please forward your item to Hap (with a note as to whether or not you would like editing help) to:

Easter Greetings from across the AOC

All Saints, Sheffield, UK
To all our brothers in Christ, the bishops and clergy of the Anglican Orthodox Church throughout the world and the congregations in their care, and to our Presiding Bishop, Jerry, from All Saints, Sheffield, UK, our prayers and best wishes this Eastertide. May the joy of the risen Christ be with you all.
Robert Cook, All Saints, Sheffield, UK
Rev Geordie in the UK
Dear Bishop Jerry,
Please pass on my Easter greetings to the AOC and their extended fellowships worldwide.
In the risen Lord,
Rev. Geordie Menzies- Grierson
To all of our AOC family,

May God grant you a joyous celebration of His resurrection. He is risen.

+Dennis Campbell

Bishop, Anglican Orthodox Church Diocese of Virginia
Rector, Holy Trinity Anglican Orthodox Church
Dear Friends and Family of the Anglican Orthodox Church Worldwide and fellow followers of Christ wherever you are:
Easter is the central day of the Christian Year. 
Advent foretells the coming of the Lord.
Christmas delivers the Savior, yet is He the One?
Epiphany tells the world.
Lent helps us examine what we are being promised.
Holy Week shows us the cost of the gift.
Good Friday the price is paid.
Easter the promise is delivered.  He is the One!  The Risen Lord!
On Easter the promise of salvation and eternal life is made real.  There is no more promise, there is only fact.
There can be no other than a Happy and Joyous Easter!

Rev Hap Arnold
Rev Deacon Jack Arnold
Mrs. Dru Arnold

Church of the Faithful Centurion
Descanso, CA
God Bless you +Bishop Campbell and all of our AOC family.

From all in Rhode Island
Matt Davis
A Blessed Easter to All from the National Office and PB of the AOC!
The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. (John 12:23-25)

Christ was bruised and broken for us just as the thousands of grains of wheat are crushed to make our daily bread, and is broken in being served to our hungers. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer explained it best, I believe, when he said that each of us is like one of those grains (corn) of wheat which is crushed to make bread. In the Communion Service, we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, and in Communion with each other and all of the saints living and dead – for they all are part and parcel of that Bread with Christ.

The Garden Tomb was only a borrowed Tomb – and that for only three days. It was hewn out of the Rock, and it held, for a time, the Rock of our Salvation. Should we not also be hewn out of that Rock which is Christ? Today is the victory of Eternity observed – today was death and hell defeated. Though we were remorseful during Lent, now we are joyous, for  “….weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalms 30:5)

A very Blessed Easter to you, one and all!
Happy Easter and…

C.S. Lewis made a great point about angels.  He said that, in contrast to the girlish figures that appear about to say, "There, there," the angels appeared as such intimidating presences that they had to begin whatever else they were going to say with, "Fear not!"
Ken Howes

[1] The tomb was a new one which had been hewn for Joseph of Arimathea.  Joseph, a native of Arimathea, was apparently a man of wealth, and probably a member of the Sanhedrin an "honourable counsellor, who waited (or "was searching") for the kingdom of God", according to John, he was secretly a disciple of Jesus. As soon as he heard the news of Jesus' death, he "went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus." Pilate, reassured by a centurion that the death had really taken place, allowed Joseph's request. Joseph immediately purchased fine linen and went to Golgotha to take the body down from the cross. There, assisted by Nicodemus, he took the body and wrapped it in the fine linen, sprinkling it with the myrrh and aloes that Nicodemus had brought. The body was then conveyed to the new tomb in rock in his garden nearby. There they laid it, in the presence of Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and other women, and rolled a great stone to the entrance, and departed. This was done speedily, "for the Sabbath was drawing on". Joseph of Arimathea appears in some early New Testament apocrypha.

Although there are no written records until the fifth century, tradition holds Joseph of Arimethea, who provided the tomb for the burial of Jesus Christ, brought Christianity and the Holy Grail to England in 37 AD and built a church in Glastonbury in Somerset.