I hope you have had a lovely Easter and a lovely Lent. I’m not sure if it is scripturally correct to have a lovely Lent – I may have got the wrong idea but I was erring on the side of politeness. I have had a quiet Lent and kept my head down a bit. As you can see from my pristine kitchen table, we have also had a quiet Easter, with the decorations pared down to almost invisible. (The wooden egg is a gift from a neighbour which he made himself. It is quite beautiful but, because it is dark brown, I have to keep snatching it out of people’s hands before they can try to take a bite out of it). I didn’t see the point in elaborate table decorations because most of the family are working over the Easter period so there wasn’t going to be any large gathering around the kitchen table. We are taking Aged Parent to Frankie and Benny’s for breakfast tomorrow (before HOH goes to work) and she is looking forward to that with an enthusiasm I don’t remember noticing for any of my cooking. It could be quite dispiriting if I thought about it for too long.
Easter is changing a bit don’t you think? Not the actual event but the celebration. Lots of people who have no interest in the crucifixion or the resurrection have decided this is a nice long weekend to celebrate “family”, make Easter decorations and eat a big meal together. None of these things are wrong in themselves obviously. It’s just that “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”, if you know what I mean. I watched a YouTube video last week in which a young mum described how she made “Easter Baskets” for her kids. This mainly consisted of going to Poundland and stuffing her trolley with more tat than you could shake a stick at. Each child would be the proud recipient of an Easter Gnome (no idea), a Disney DVD, Easter Bunny pyjamas, paperweights, whistles (more fool you), straws, colouring books and Easter sweets. Now, I am nothing if not a cheerful soul and I have no problem with children getting presents for Easter or with Easter egg hunts etc. However, it does seem that Easter has become a second pressure point for beleaguered parents where money must be spent, families must be entertained and we must all be cheerful – at all costs. This is looking like another event in the Christian calendar that Christians will have to grab a hold of and keep holding until their knuckles are white while we keep reminding anyone who will listen about what the true meaning is.
I was thinking about something that I had read about a Christian who had got up on Easter Morning feeling much the same as they did the night before. Their life hadn’t changed and the struggles were the same as they were on Good Friday. All I would say is that it is a well known fact that it was still dark when Jesus rose from the dead. By the time the women reached the tomb in the early morning, the miracle had already taken place, in the dark, without witnesses or fanfare as far as we know. In the midst of Easter celebrations, there are those for whom church – with the smiling and the dancing and the confetti canons or whatever will seem to have little relevance for their day to day life. It does us all good though, to remember that in the darkness of the early hours, without our help, Jesus stirred and the whole world changed. Hope was already being given substance, there in the tomb and mankind didn’t even know anything about it. Maybe, even now, when for you it seems dark and hopeless, Jesus is beginning something that you can’t see yet. Something you don’t expect. Something way beyond your imaginings. This, I think, is something to hold onto when you wonder whether Easter is for you.