The Easter celebrations are a trifle muffled this year. What should be an exultant cry of praise as we emerge from the desert of Lent into the vision of the heavenly Jerusalem is now replaced with an uncertain stuttering. We are not truly at the place where we can celebrate victory and triumph over the forces of evil. The thanksgiving psalm for this Sunday, psalm 118, speaks about the deliverance of his people by the mighty hand of God, yet we are still labouring under the stress of the coronavirus pandemic. How can we speak of resurrection on this Sunday, Easter Sunday, when so much of our world is still under bondage to fear, and suffering, dying and death?
Yet we can, we must, look beyond the inconvenience and disruption of the present crisis to the underlying reality that Easter proclaims. From the first Easter until now, the Church has experienced many times of disturbance and trial, of uncertainty and stress. And she has still continued to declare that Christ has put all things under his feet, including suffering and death. He is “seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:2) from which position he will conquer every force, every principality and power that has intimidated and dominated humanity.
This Easter celebration transcends every trial, every distress, every force of evil, in its declaration that “the right hand of God is exalted, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly” (psalm 118). This current crisis, like every other tribulation that has afflicted God’s people, will pass, and we too will pass, from death to resurrection. Death is not the end, it issues forth into resurrection. “I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.” (psalm 118). Time and again, the Scriptures proclaim that God has brought Israel back from the edge of defeat and destruction to live again in his presence. Should today’s tribulation be any different from the past? Has God lost his power, and the strength of his right hand? No, “the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever ” (psalm 118).
Happy and blessed Easter to all our parishioners!!