Edinburgh Churches Together
A message for Easter
As the Easter weekend approaches nothing is quite as it usually is. I have certainly bought fewer Easter eggs as I don’t imagine they would travel well in the post. Traditional Easter egg hunts will have to be held in more confined spaces, and of course our normal worship through Holy Week and Easter has moved out of the sanctuary and online.
Just over two weeks into lockdown and every now and then our thoughts turn to the day this is over: the day when we can meet one another in groups larger than two, when shops and schools will re-open, when we can hug those we meet, leave the house more than once a day, travel to work, and fly off on holiday. There are questions about how we move from church at home and on the net back to the buildings where we have always met. Will we have a large-scale Back to Church Sunday to celebrate the return of these freedoms? And how will we mark the losses of those we loved and lost to the virus, and those we loved and lost through other causes, but were unable to do all we wanted by way of remembrance and being together? How much will the sense of loss and trauma we all feel to a greater or lesser extent hold us back from the celebration, if indeed we feel the virus has been pushed back and restrictions have been lifted?
I am reminded that Easter is a celebration wrought out of grief. It is a hard won day of rejoicing out of the deepest darkness because they took the Lord of life, put him on a cross and allowed the dark clouds to roll over the sky. All that was the best of us, the best of human life, the most profound expression of creativity and goodness, the light of the world, was taken on the Friday. Yet out of that in a garden in the morning came new life, the resurrection of the Son and the rising to life of hope, love, and light.
Darkness and light are never far away from each other in our experience, nor are grief and rejoicing. In all the terrible news of a pandemic are stories of devotion, commitment and passion as those who care, and those whom we trust to care in the health service and care services, risk everything to make others whole. So many set aside their own wellbeing to bring healing, to bring food, to bring essential services to others.
We have been gathering information on all that local congregations are doing in this time and passing that on to the politicians so that they can direct people to the services they need. What is being done by our churches, by a great host of volunteers, is making the difference to many who would otherwise be isolated and at risk.
This Easter, which will be like no other we have known, is still a celebration of God with us raising life and light out of death and darkness. We may well have to dig deeper to find faith and hope in our time, but inspired by the love being sacrificially lived out every day, and in the memory of a garden at dawn with the stone rolled away, may you know Jesus here and ready to walk the road with you, carrying you in grief and rejoicing with you in all that is good.
Christ is Risen! Alleluia!