EASTER is a time of hope and new life, an opportunity to begin again in a new way. The Angel said to the wounded followers of Jesus: “Why look among the living for the dead?”
Easter reminds us in a very powerful way that we belong to a place that is so much bigger than whatever situation we may find ourselves in; that place is about gentleness, hope, love and compassion. That sacred place is told through the eyes of faith. Faith is a necessary and wonderful gift. Faith will carry us up any mountain, no matter how overwhelming the climb may be. Faith brings with it a sense of perspective and a deep confidence, that no matter what, ‘all will be well’. Easter is about new possibilities and opportunities.
Easter is rich in gifts and blessings. There is no recession in the Lord’s love. Where the shadows of conflict, war, sickness and uncertainty prevail, the Easter message contains a dawn that promises brighter days ahead.
Reading a newspaper these days can be very draining … war in Ukraine and the refugee crisis, climate change, cost of living increase, and Covid. It is a dismal litany, and we can’t afford to ignore the very serious threat and challenge posed by all of them. It’s hard to be cheerful when so many people in our One World are suffering so much. But the story doesn’t end there, as I was reminded recently by a poem simply called ***Easter***, written by the Jesuit priest and poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. One verse in particular captured my imagination. It reads …
***Beauty now for ashes wear,
Perfumes for the garb of woe,
Chaplets for dishevelled hair,
Dances for sad footsteps slow.
Open wide your hearts that they
Let in joy this Easter Day.***
He is making the point that light shines in the darkness. That light shines from the Risen Christ, and (as St John put it) the darkness has not and cannot ever overcome it. From the sheer evil of the crucifixion came the eternal hope of resurrection. From the chaos of night there dawned a new day. So, my prayer this Easter is for a foretaste of that resurrection – in the world, in our nation and in the lives of everyone we know and love as we turn our eyes upon Jesus, because He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Easter Sunday changed everything. On that Sunday, Jesus cheated death, so that Friday’s apparent failure was now properly seen as a triumph. Jesus, now alive, became a beacon of hope for sinful people everywhere – death was no longer the inevitable sentence they had to bear. His fleeing followers, having seen him risen with their own eyes, stopped running and instead set out to change the world – not deluded at all, but enthralled by a future with Jesus as their Lord.
I pray this Easter will be a bright and uplifting time for us all. Easter is a lasting season, where we can indulge in the light and hope of Christ’s resurrection every moment of our lives.