‘We now live in the light of Easter’

Covid 19 is a phrase which, although unheard of two years ago, is now an unfortunate and universally feared feature of life today.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 2:56 pm
The Very Rev Dermot McCaughan Parish Priest.

Its effects - from death, suffering, curtailment of all activities and the attendant mental anxieties, have been awful and tragic for so many people in so many aspects of life.

However there is one aspect of life which, thank goodness, has been completely unaffected and will continue to be immune to Covid 19’s destructive consequences. It is something which gives me, and I hope you, great hope and confidence about the future.

If you are like me, and I also suspect many other people, every year in February or early March, you become really weary of the winter and have said to yourselves in pre-Covid times, ‘Oh I wish this winter was over and we were having brighter days again. This winter seems to have gone on and on and on, will it never end.’

This year this foreboding has been even worse.

When the dreariness of the end of winter is welded to the despair of the lockdown, which sometimes appears to be neverending, it’s no wonder people have been disheartened and downcast. This is today’s reality.

A civic pandemic that gatecrashed our lives spilling its viral and stress load into every aspect of our being. Each of us on reflection has our own story to tell.

But then, usually quite suddenly, ‘What is this? I had forgotten about it and thought it was dead but no here it is back again just like last year, the year before that, in fact forever.’

It is the first primrose of spring unfolding and coming into bloom.

‘And look there’s another and another.’

The desolation of winter has been driven out by the buoyant vibrance of spring. The seasonal victory has been achieved and Covid 19 has not affected the thrusting energy of another season.

Like the flower beds reconnecting with nature we too are slowly and gradually emerging again into the world we once knew.

Many hours spent in silence and isolation testing our resolve will keep us all wisely grounded in good times yet to come. The darkest days have moments of light!

So it is with our churches and places of worship.

Although during the pandemic they appeared to be dead - there was no sign of life around them: no congregations, no clergy, no public baptisms, marriages or funerals. Nothing. Then, just as spring has arrived and the hibernation of animals and plants is coming to an end there is new hope and new life.

In my view this is the way to look at spring this Covid 19 year - the churches have been in hibernation and now that there has been some progress in opening, it cannot be long until like the primroses, they gradually open and come into full bloom.

Until, without a fanfare or flourish every member of every church, will be reunited with our spiritual beacons and bloom spiritually again.

It is hard to find a more beautiful story in scripture than when Mary and the disciples on that first Easter Day approached the empty tomb. An empty tomb that tells us Easter is about starting when you thought all hope was gone.

There is no situation in life God cannot embrace and change forever.

As Easter people we are all sent forth like Mary Magdalene and the disciples as messengers of the Risen Lord. May those months of loving and caring for each other - small moments of unspoken courage and sacrifice - continue to sustain and support our families and community.

We now live in the light of Easter. Each life matters. We now have hope that in the midst of uncertainties and doubts and when nothing else makes sense the grace of the Risen God is with us.

After all where flowers bloom so does hope!

Here at St. Patrick’s we send blessings and greetings to all peoples in the city of Lisburn at this Easter time.