PostScript: Easter comes anyway
A reflection for the Sunday after Easter.
Few Christians living in the developed world can ever have experienced an Easter like this one. At the same time, however, this Easter gives us an opportunity to identify a little more closely with the doubts and fears felt by the first disciples, and with their experience of resurrection depicted in this week’s Gospel reading.
Like the disciples, we are hiding away behind locked doors for fear of the potential danger posed by the people outside. As for them, so for us, the everyday interactions, which we too easily take for granted, are currently denied us, and the mundane but reliable routines of work and school, appointments and activities, shopping and socialising are no longer available. For the disciples, contact with the people outside carries the risk of injury or even death by mob violence; for us, such contact may lead to severe or even fatal illness.
Many of us have had to cancel plans and projects, or at the very least put them on hold. Eagerly awaited parties and holidays, matches and performances have been postponed at best, abandoned at worst. We may justifiably feel disappointed, depressed, devastated; and these emotions are pretty much what the disciples were feeling, too. We should not feel guilty about them.
But Easter comes anyway…
We can’t cancel it or put it on hold. We can’t postpone it or ask for a refund. There it is, fixed in our calendar: 12 April 2020. Like it or not, whether we were in the mood for it or not, Easter comes anyway.
Just like Jesus…
We may be locked in our homes for fear of the people outside, but that doesn’t stop the risen Jesus from coming among us (see Matthew 18.20; 28.20). We may find it hard to believe that he’s with us, especially in times like these; but so did the disciples – especially Thomas!
The marks of Jesus’ wounds proved to Thomas that the Jesus who appeared to the disciples in their doubt and fear was the same Jesus who had been nailed to the cross. That same Jesus, who was willing to die to show us the height and breadth and depth of God’s love, is willing to be with us in our times of doubt and fear. Jesus’ suffering and death are not the end of his story, and they are not the end of ours either.
God of love, by your Son’s unexpected, amazing resurrection,
you show his followers that suffering – and even death – are not the end.
Be with us through him in our times of doubt and fear,
unite us through him with those whom we love,
and when the darkness has gone, raise us through him to new life;
through the same Jesus Christ, our risen Lord.
Robert Beard is a Church of England priest and freelance writer.
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