EASTER MESSAGE: Time to reflect on a new life for all of us
EASTER is upon us, in ways that it has never been before.
Certainly we have had people unable to gather in the past, although not recently.
The Church has a long memory, and has survived plagues that killed hundreds of thousands, and will survive this.
It feels so raw to us because we are so close to it.
So I, and many others have been thinking about the core message of Easter in this time.
For me there are two aspects that I wish to foreground from the tradition of the church, which I believe speak into this moment.
The first is to do with the service that is traditionally held on the Thursday before Easter, and includes the washing of the feet.
If you recall, on the night Jesus was arrested, before going into the garden to pray, he gathered with his disciples for a last supper and washed his disciples’ feet.
It certainly seems strange to our modern way of thinking, and to the people of Jesus’ day would have been scandalous, because of the intimacy and the roles of the people.
The only way to make sense of it is as a sign of love; no other meaning guides us through this event.
In this day and age, that same sign compels us to not gather, for love of stranger and neighbour.
The next aspect I would like to draw your attention to is the resurrection.
I cannot recall who pointed out to me that Jesus was resurrected not resuscitated, but I am grateful, because that phrase gives a clue to what is coming.
Many people are wondering about what the new normal will be once we “emerge” from isolation, and the Easter story tells about a new life, not a return to the old.
I believe culturally we would be wise to use this time to reflect on our old life, and what a new life might look like.
I am going to take a moment to bang a favourite drum, as an example.
My social media feed has been filled with the images of nature returning to cities, and in one case the canals of Venice are running clear.
When this ends the people of Venice will have a choice, to return to the old way of using the canals, or to imagine a new way of life that allows the water to stay clear.
I don’t know the practical answer for Venice, I’ve never even seen the city in real life, but I know that the same questions face each of us, right in our own backyards.
Easter tells us resurrection is coming, hopefully love will help us shape the new life we choose to lead.
• Andrew Schmidt is the priest at Good Sherpherd Anglican Church