‘Eastertime’ reflection – the Revd Nick McKee.

‘Eastertime’ reflection by Director of Vocations, the Revd Nick McKee.

Easter People

In the midst of coronavirus, this Easter has been both eventful and yet empty of almost all the usual Easter events.  As Christians our Holy Week preparations and Easter celebrations have been derailed and disrupted in ways that none of us could ever have imagined.

Even the wider non-Christian world has found the expected Easter rhythm of feasting with family and friends, holidaying and, of course, eating vast quantities of chocolate stopped in its tracks in unimaginable ways.  What do we make of our Easter faith in these distressing times?

Many years ago I went to a Christian festival called Easter People and since then I’ve always liked the idea of being ‘Easter people’, not because of the event but because as Christians we are people who live life in the bright light of the resurrection of Jesus and that changes everything. Through his resurrection we know that Jesus really is who he says he is, we know that we can be forgiven and we also know that death does not have the final word, so we can live free from the fear of death.  These are the claims of Easter people like me and they fire my life, but coronavirus does not simply derail and disrupt our Easter celebrations, it brings into sharp focus these Easter claims. The first coronavirus death close to me was a fit healthy young man in his mid-20s, the second to touch my life was a man in his 60s, the third a woman also in her 60s. I do not know who the fourth, fifth or sixth will be but, unless there is a miracle, I know they will come.  In the midst of so many deaths from coronavirus, claims about death not having the final word or of living free from the fear of death become challenging truths to live out and live by because it needs to be done in a way that is honest about the pain of this broken world.

Perhaps a personal example will help to explain what I mean?  My father died some years ago.  The brokenness of this world took its toll on him and he was not perfect, but he had a persistent Christian faith all his life.  He had been ill for many years and so in many ways his death was a merciful release because I knew what lay in store for him beyond this life. Death did not have the final word for him and I was not afraid of his dying, but that did not stop the pain of being parted from him and I wept and grieved deeply at his death.  I have complete, confident hope in the power of Christ’s resurrection to bring new life to my father, but I was honest about my loss and I grieved.

This Easter, I’m still an Easter person. I’m still utterly confident of the truth, hope and power of the resurrection of Jesus but I am also determined to be honest about the pain and loss coronavirus is bringing into this broken world.  We know how this story ends, we know that Jesus is victorious, but this chapter is a hard one to live through and we would do well to have the imagination and courage to be honest about the grief that is casting its shadow on this particular Easter season. In doing so we can allow the bright light of Jesus’ resurrection to fire us, so that we can be Easter people sharing his hope with a world experiencing so much disruption and distress.