A reflection on Easter at a time of questionable safety
I’m sitting at my computer looking out on to a very quiet street that normally has people walking, jogging or driving up and down. It isn’t an overly busy road, but being opposite a secondary school can mean moments of chaos! Right now, I would give anything for the chaos, if it meant we were able to return safely to a world where we were able to go about our business. But right now it isn’t safe and so we all shelter away, leaving our homes as little as possible.
As I write, we are only a couple of weeks after Easter and as part of that story we remember the disciples who also sheltered away in the early days after the death of Jesus, hiding in an upper room together for fear of what might happen if they were to go outside. They too would have known fear, uncertainty and possibly boredom. We know they were there from Thursday evening and their last supper, until Sunday when Jesus was resurrected. They stayed there longer too. Jesus appears to them at a later while they were still in the room as they had nowhere else they could go. It is striking to me that the first words he says to them is “Peace be with you”. Right now I suspect a few of us could do with a little peace in our hearts. Many of us are worried about ourselves, our loved ones, our neighbours and friends, about NHS staff and “key-workers”. Peace seems a very welcome thing right now.
But as helpful as this is, I think it is the next part of the story that might be most helpful to us in the weeks ahead. Slowly and once it became safe, the disciples started to venture out once again. They knew the truth about Jesus, they had their facts in front of them. They met Jesus again and again, on the beach for breakfast, in a house for dinner, in the garden, in locked rooms. But each time they begin to realise that their world won’t look the same again. The world had to change and they had to change. Their lives couldn’t go back to what it was before. Jesus’ being the Son of God changed everything. This experience changed the way they saw everything. No longer was it just about a little group of disciples. It wasn’t just about looking after themselves and the few people who agreed with them. It was about everyone, the whole community, indeed the whole world. It took a while for this to happen, but at Pentecost, 50 days later, that’s when they realise it is a whole new world.
And for us too, it is a whole new world. It will take time for us, but we can’t let ourselves slip back into the one we have just left. In three weeks we have realised that “low-skilled workers” are now “key-workers”. We realised that without refuse collectors, care home staff, without shop staff, postal staff and hospital cleaners we don’t function. We have started talking to neighbours, we have learnt to ask for help, we have fed the hungry and housed the homeless. We realise that buying too much for ourselves just means that the next person has to go without. Our world has learnt a valuable lesson in valuing each other. And just like those disciples, we need to do something about it. We need to change the world around us, if only one person at a time. There was only a few of them, but there are many of us. So we can do this, the task isn’t too big. We just need to let this change us.
Peace be with you.