A strange Easter

In the past week many people have said to me, “this is the strangest Holy Week ever”. I will agree that it is the strangest Holy Week that I have known, however it is no stranger than the week which began when Jesus of Nazareth rode a donkey into Jerusalem. Questions, fear, anxiety, restrictions on movement enforced by authority, a struggle to celebrate ancient religious ritual in a meaningful way, all these were issues on people’s minds in that first Holy Week. They are issues on our minds this year as over the next few days we enter into the observances at the core of our faith. From Maundy Thursday through to Easter Day we hear the command to love demonstrated in a shocking way, we receive the sacramental meal as an everlasting reminder of that love, we witness the outpouring of love on the cross and we celebrate the final victory of that love.

On that first Easter Day, the church – the disciples and others who believed in Jesus – was in a room, hidden away because of fear. A locked door could not keep the risen Christ away from them. The glorious good news could not be stopped.

Christians live in a strange mixture of remembering what has been, while celebrating it’s reality in the present and looking for it’s fulfillment in a time to come. Will Easter happen? Of course it will. It already has. The triumph of light over darkness, of life over death, has already taken place. The scriptures we read this week recount the events which took place in a week long ago. We find fresh hope, purpose and meaning for our lives and the life of the world by celebrating them in this moment. Even if we cannot gather with one another, even if many of our familiar acts of worship cannot take place in their accustomed way, there is still the good news of the resurrection. I don’t know if it is fair to say that we need this good news more this year than any other year but in a community swamped by unending bad news for the past weeks, with little prospect of a change anytime soon, we need to hear the good news- by any means possible.

Thank you to all those who are leading in this time of huge adjustment in congregations and parishes. Thank you for trying new ways to gather while being apart. Thank you for the creativity you are displaying in worship and in serving your communities.

May you find fresh hope and peace in the Easter mystery.

The Most Rev. Ron Cutler

Archbishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.