On Boxing Day in 2004 we watched our TVs in horror, as a tsumani engulfed coastal communities. People, boats, homes, livelihoods, lives – all tossed in the air as if they were nothing.
A tsunami has engulfed our world. Not just health and lives have been overwhelmed by the coronavirus, but livelihoods and incomes, families and connections, stability and security. So much of what was normal has fled, at least temporarily. We are learning a new way of living.
I write this in ‘self-isolation’ (one of so many words that have gate-crashed our vocabulary), due to a member of the household. Thankfully there is food in the larder (for now at least), and I live in a supportive community. I am also grateful that my father-in-law’s funeral, just a fortnight ago, was before the shutters came down.
We approach in April the marking of another death, one central to human experience. When so much that is familiar to us has gone, how can Good Friday not be a magnetic moment? Aside from any religious creed, here is a death to symbolise all deaths, past, present and future. More than this, it takes all deaths onto itself: physical death, yes, but also death of the ways of life we knew, the normality we loved, of expectations we had, even of hopes that have been washed away.
It takes all those deaths, and it sits with them, quietly, respectfully, and with overwhelming compassion for our losses. In the stillness of Easter Saturday, those deaths lie silent in the ground. We wait.
And then all is changed! New life springs up from the dark earth. Not old life resuscitated, but life of a form that could not have been conceived before. Easter. Resurrection. Hope! For the God ‘who gives life to the dead and calls into being the things that do not exist’, as St Paul puts it, is not dead.
We see this happening already. Out of the current crisis, mutual support in our communities is forging new bonds. Creative ways of working emerge. And cheering us on are the Spring flowers, brushing aside their underground winter to now burst with colour.
One tiny virus, and how fragile our world is shown to be. But there will always be Easter. There will always be hope.
Rev David Carrington
Team Vicar of Escot, Feniton and Payhembury
The Rectory, Station Road, Feniton 01404 850905