Friday, 23 April 2021

Opportunity for new way of living

I SUSPECT that you’ve finished all those chocolate eggs by now and Easter has faded into the background of our lives; the resurrection has come, Alleluia. But, alas, all is far from well.

In life we are still perhaps looking for signs of the resurrection. As we process the reality of the scale of loss of life inflicted by this virus, we remain in a place of waiting; we are still living Holy Saturday.

This is the day when outwardly nothing happens; the body of Jesus lies in the tomb, inert and unseen and the disciples are in mourning. For us, too, there is that devastating sense that the worst has happened.

We are in the place where we can do very little; there is a sense of loss of control and we are in a waiting place, not knowing what will come next. It is intensely uncomfortable.

Many of us are working harder if we’re employed in vital services and others are struggling with trying to work from home. We may be finding it difficult to source enough food, and we are worried about our friends and family, particularly those who are elderly or unwell.

But we have hope; Holy Saturday passes and Easter does dawn. In the darkness of the tomb God is at work and in our darkness we have seen so much goodness and light breaking through.

Never have we been so aware of how each one of us matters and how we rely on one another for our well-being. We’ve seen how heroic people can be and how we can all do something to help a neighbour or make a difference. To people who might ask, where is God in all of this? I’d point them there, to God at work in the acts of generous neighbourly compassion, breaking into hearts that were previously shuttered by that self-sufficient, “look after your own” mentality that had become all too normal.

In a recent article Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford and Archbishop of York designate said: “When this is over may God spare us from getting back to normal. We await a resurrection.”

We do indeed and, of course, for Christians on Easter Day a new reality was born; the world was changed forever by God’s decisive intervention and his disruption of the old order of life and death.

So could this be what we are waiting for now? Do we have the opportunity to create a new way of living that celebrates and promotes the common good?

The prophet Isaiah spoke God’s words to the people: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43: 18-19).

Take heart, God is forever faithful.

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