Since there is so much hype at Christmas, we are misled into believing that Christmas is the biggest feast for Christians. In actual fact it is Easter that is at the heart of the Christian faith as celebrates the triumph of Jesus over death, sin and evil.
esus was crucified – but who wants to live with crosses these days? It is the cross however, that we experience in our daily lives. The cross forces us to come to terms with self and others. The cross says that we are vulnerable and it is this life experience that Jesus transforms into victory.
The passion is what we experience when we are lonely, abandoned, betrayed or mocked. It takes different forms in every individual’s life,-but the answer to all of them is the same — the resurrected Jesus. As Pope Francis says, ‘the moment of our humiliation is the moment of our humility’. We do not fully understand why these things happen to us. But do we really prefer to live in despair or do we allow Jesus to take that same reality and make a wonderful new creation out of it? When we see Easter as an opportunity to rejoice and be reborn to a new life, we can take on any challenge with confidence.
Easter services on Maundy Thursday have a highlight — the washing of the feet of 12 chosen people from the congregation, whose feet are washed by the celebrants at the liturgy. It sends across the strong message that we are all servants. It is to inspire us to find meaning in humble service to others.
In the worst of circumstances, we can still stand tall and accept that finally, God is in control. “Be still and know that I am God’. The more we resort to agitated behaviour, the more we put faith in ourselves alone. But if we look at things and our own lives closely we will find that the hand of God has rested on us, that Providence indeed guides us along the way. God does not rescue us with high drama in a brilliant and spectacular way. He loves us into loving him in return. That is the greatest treasure we can have.
Easter removes the deep divide between God and humanity, because after Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are one with God. He is accessible to all. That is why when Jesus died, the veil of the temple was rent into two.
Easter means that we make time and space for God. We rely less on ourselves but listen to what He is telling us every day. We can find him in the song of the birds, the early morning dew, the rain and the storms, the ups and the downs of life. There is a deep peace that emanates from God, heralding a new creation. It is as if Jesus is telling us: “See, I make of you a new creation”.
I welcome the dawn and the dusk every day in my life, because it reminds me of God’s faithfulness. He has carved us on the Palm of his Hands. He brings light to a darkened world. We all have our allotted times on earth — we do not understand, but if we listen in quiet to the God of both great and small things, every leaf, branch, meadow, flower, crow, sparrow, repeats the Easter message of a liberation from the past and an assured future.