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Fear and resurrection.

Dear friends,

Every Holy Week is different, but this one is tinged with real feelings of fearful anxiety. Many are scared for themselves, or for their loved ones. Many are cut off from their usual sources of comfort, friendship, family and support. For those who venture out to help others, to go food shopping, or receive a delivery at the door, there is the worry that this might be the time when we encounter Covid 19.

Each news bulletin talks of the number of deaths from the previous day; both in our country and around the world. Already the numbers are hard to grasp but we know it means even more families are grieving, without the normal ways of expressing grief through comforting hugs and being together.  The heartache and sadness run ever deeper.

Holy Week is no escape from any of this. Fear runs through every aspect of the story. We know that the shadow of the cross looms menacingly darker as the hours pass. The emotions of Jesus and his followers go from extreme to extreme, like a roller coaster.  Even though they are together for some of the time, they cannot make sense of what is happening. But equally there are times of aloneness, separation from close ones, scattering of the disciples after Gethsemane, Jesus’ arrest, torture and trial, his walking to the cross, the crucifixion, being laid hastily in the tomb to meet the regulations of the day.

In the desolation of Holy Saturday, when the reality of death begins to sink in and there is nothing that can be done except wait, cry, and wonder whether life can have meaning.

Even the Easter resurrection stories are full of fear. Meeting the risen Christ did not make it all better. The Risen Christ kept saying ‘Do not be afraid.’  ‘Peace be with you.’ Resurrection was not, and is not about fairy tale endings, living happily ever after. Rather, God begins something wonderfully new; something beyond the possible, or imaginable. And God does this through the pain and doubt and fear.

Surprise is at the heart of resurrection. God’s re-creative mystery cannot be controlled or understood, it cannot be hemmed in, or confined. Love breaks through, breaks open and leads to new life, new possibilities.  How will God’s love come to us this Easter? Are we willing to be surprised by something unexpected?

May the risen Christ come to us in our fear. May he reassure us of his presence, even in the darkness. May we hear his voice calling us by name, leading us to a different future.

Christ is Risen….

 

Tim


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