Christ is Risen Indeed.
A very happy Easter to all who are reading this.
Easter will be different this year.
Regardless of how Easter has been celebrated in the past there will be changes this year. Covid-19 has put a stop to large and small gatherings. Therefore, church buildings will remain empty and rightly so. (I must confess to having little patience for those who flout the advice and put others at risk). Family gatherings will be curtailed. Public Easter Egg hunts will be cancelled. Easter will be celebrated at home, alone or with the nuclear family.
Easter will be different this year.
Yet, the message remains the same. Death and resurrection. It is the cycle of life that is seen reflected in nature. My job ended with the lock down —I miss it. I am home all the time and, weather permitting, have been spending a lot of time in the garden. Most of the work is raking leaves—we have a lot of them! As I am raking, I continue to marvel at the cycle of life. Green shoots are revealed as I remove the dead leaves which have provided a protective cover over the winter.
As well as seeing these tender green shoots, I enjoy the early snowdrops and crocuses which are starting to bloom. I watch the birds dancing as they choose mates, then carrying twigs to make nests. The buds are on the trees, some starting to show a hint of colour. All around me are signs of life bursting out.
The events of the Easter story remind us of this cycle of life which is reflected in nature. It is powerful story. It is important story. It is a hopeful story. It is a story that has shaped our lives.
It is a new day dawning. The lectionary passage for Easter Sunday (Matthew 28:1-10) begins with the words, “as the first day of the week was dawning”.
Something significant happened on that day —history changed forever. The Easter event has never been forgotten. It was a new beginning, nothing would ever be the same.
Currently, the world is in the middle of the worse pandemic for a century. Many lives have already been lost and will continue to be so — our prayers are with all those who are suffering and their families.
It is a hard time for everyone. The photographs in the media of essential workers and mass graves are harrowing. People will be forever changed — how can they not?
There are certain events that remain forever in history. These are key points which caused society to change. They will never be forgotten — for example, the holocaust or September 11th , 2001.
Society has now been locked down in USA for about four weeks. In some countries it is even longer. Will this change society? I was listening yesterday to LBC (Leading Britain’s Conversation, our favourite radio station). It was a phone in format. The question had been asked, had the lock down changed people in positive ways. I found a few answers particularly insightful.
One person said that because of the business of their lives they had never spoken to their elderly neighbours, since the pandemic they had exchanged words —at a distance —and continually checked to see if they were okay. Another said that their drive to work was two and a half hours daily along a busy motorway and they were loving not being part of that rat race. He added that he was actually getting more work done at home. A third person said they lived near an airport and with fewer planes for the first time in years birds had returned to their garden.
On our walk with our dogs, Andy and I have found that people are more friendly. Everyone says hello while maintaining a safe distance. I also noticed siblings in a couple of gardens. I commented how nice it was to see siblings learning to play together.
A new day is dawning
In many ways it is still the Good Friday of the pandemic. It is a dark time and will probably continue to be so for several more weeks.
Yet, glimmers of a new kinder society are shining through — kinder to each other, kinder to nature and kinder to the nonhuman life we share the planet with. Glimmers of life are starting to break in through the darkness.
I can say with assurance that Easter Sunday will come eventually. The light will overtake the darkness. It is the cyclic nature of life.
Will we go back to life as it was before? I hope not, I hope this is one of those key moments in history which brings about far reaching changes.