For a moment, I could imagine Druids in their white robes gathered around the sacred fire.
It was the Easter Vigil, begun with the lighting of a fire just outside the church entrance. This was no polite little flame, but a huge blaze. The light flickered on the priests and acolytes, all robed in white, standing close to the fire while the rest of us gathered round.
I had a flash of tribal memory of my Celtic ancestors doing the same. At this time of year, at the festival of Beltane, we too built a fire. We thus welcomed the return of the sun, whose lengthening rays signaled the end of the darkness of winter for one more year. We humans have long followed our inborn instinct to give thanks, however imperfectly, to the power of life and to beg its mercy. We did it then and we do it now.
Thanks be to God that we do celebrate the perfect and eternal resurrection of the true Son of God, not for one season, but for all time and that time beyond time.
Let us join in the ancient words:
Christ yesterday and today,
The beginning and the end.
Alpha and Omega,
All time belongs to him and all the ages,
to him be glory and power,
through every age for ever.