Tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. I will be joining some friends on the shore of Lake Ontario for our traditional sunrise Easter Service. We come together to share both the word and the table. While it is not a formal church service per se, it is indeed sacred time for those that join us. We light a fire and watch the sun come up over the horizon. Beauty cannot describe the feeling that we all share. This year I have been asked to share the word for the group, provide a reflection on the reading and what it could possibly mean to us. Liturgically I am presenting the homily. With my back to the east so people see the sun arise over my shoulders, I will share the homily below with them. After we share this time together, we all head to a local restaurant and have breakfast, coffee and laugh together as friends should. As I gather tomorrow morning I want you friends from The Closet to know I will keep you in my prayers - wishing you all a wonderful, healthy, happy Easter and also a great new beginning to whatever path you may choose to follow. This time of year is also Passover, a time when our Jewish friends and neighbours get together to remember the journey from Egypy to Israel and their new birth. One tradition from Passover I honour and respect is associated to their seder - they set an empty chair at the table. This chair is there for a few reasons; in case someone drops in there is room at the table, in case a passed on friend or relative decides to come back, there is room at the table and also as a symbolic reminder of those who could not be there to sit seder with them. This year as you enjoy Easter Celebrations with family, lovers, friends... please remember that empty chair and try and fill it with someone who otherwise might not have a table to sit at. Not everyone has a family they can return to and share in the celebration, or is separated from friends they would normally be with during holiday times. Try and bridge the gap, fill the chair and start a new beginning not only for yourself but also for the one who may join you at the table. The world will be a better place as a result of your small actions... all it takes is one person. So I leave you with my homily and my sincere wishes and prayers for a great day, a great year and a great new beginning. Blessings, Randy New Beginnings Today is the day Mary Magdalene and others discovered Jesus gone from the tomb; they were told he had risen from the tomb. This morning we gather at sunrise and watch the sun arise from the tomb of the night. The darkness of the night is now broken, just as the darkness from the absence of the light of Christ is now broken. It is a time of new beginnings. Everyday each of us wakes up and has a choice to make as to what we will do that day, what road we will take. Mary Magdalene was told that Jesus was on the road to Galilee, likewise we are also on that road, while it may not be to Galilee, and it is indeed to whatever wondrous things we seek for ourselves. Last year I had the opportunity to travel to Galilee; I drove the many roads that lead up to the towns surrounding it, Yardenit; the site of the baptism, Tabga where Jesus walked on water and Capernaum, where the new beginning of what is now the Christian church was established. What struck me then, and strikes me even more now is that was the site of new beginnings 2000 years ago, but it is no longer. Don’t get me wrong, that land is certainly sacred, but all the land we walk on as people of God is just as sacred. Last weekend was Palm Sunday – and, as historically and liturgically Palm Sunday invites each of us to enter our various Jerusalem’s through the political East Gate – and to step onto sacred ground – whatever ground that be for each of us… The Holy Spirit invites us – is among us – dances within and through us – and we’re reminded that we are always One with God, and that, as importantly, we are One with all that is Sacred – and it is this time of Holy week that we can once again access that reminder – the Peace of Christ, and the hope of rebirth and transformation. Remember it is the Holy Spirit who re-lights the “always burning” fire within us and invites us to begin again – another journey, another path … This morning we walked together along the path to this sacred, holy ground – we walked from parking lot to beauty – I hope you feel the sacredness of this place; the sacredness of us coming together to celebrate the new beginning of the day and the new beginning of the rest of our lives. Many of you may not know this but it is also a very significant new beginning for me as well. On Tuesday I finished full-time studies on my new path towards ministry. My new road has begun, the new beginning is upon me and what I will encounter as on this road is very much uncertain. Mary Magdalene did not know what she would encounter when she went to the tomb that morning, nor did she probably know what she would encounter on the road to Galilee. That is the beauty of life though – we don’t need to know, we just need to accept, with faith, that the road will be full of God’s beauty and love and life. It will be a sacred road because you are on it, and you are on it with your God. Today we are standing on Holy Ground. Today the sun brought a new beginning to this day. When you go from this place today; go knowing it is a new beginning for you and you can walk the path you choose to walk and no matter where it takes you. God will be with you every step of the way. Find your own Galilee, it is not just in a land in the Middle East, it is also in your heart and in your soul. Chart your own path, make this day a new beginning and do so with the knowledge that the ground you walk will be sacred for you are on it. Amen.