An Easter Message from Rev Dr Richard Frazer
Moderator of Edinburgh Presbytery
Christianity was born in the midst of tragedy.
The tragedy of the Cross. And out of that dark event, hope emerged – the Community of the Resurrection.
The friends of Jesus knew bewilderment and fear at the turn of events on that first Good Friday. His mother held vigil at the foot of the Cross, pondering these things in her heart, no doubt. And, Jesus himself experienced desolation, agony and profound loneliness.
All of these feelings are, at this moment, eddying around the world like a wave of unsettlement and sadness, threatening to overwhelm us. A known and dependable world suddenly looks very fragile; perhaps we ought to have known all along.
And then comes Mary Magdalene to the grave and suddenly there is a twist in the plot, a change of mood. Desolation and despair is slowly, tentatively, being supplanted by hope and promise. Perhaps death is not going to have the last word.
The inner strength of people who’d known Jesus is kindled and all that he taught and meant still has currency amongst them. The seeds he’d sown in them are taking root and Mary goes to the disciples and declares, ’I have seen the Lord!’
The sorrow of these last days has overwhelmed everyone like a great tsunami of grief, fear and sorrow, but, here they are, on Easter Day, still standing.
Henry James, the American writer engaged in a long correspondence with a woman called Grace Morton. Here is a part of a letter he wrote to Grace in the midst of her own period of sorrow:
‘Sorrow comes in great waves…. but it rolls over us, and though it may almost smother us it leaves us on the spot, and we know that if it is strong we are stronger, in as much as it passes, but we remain. It wears us, uses us, but we wear it and use it in return; and it is blind, whereas we after a manner see……. Everything will pass, and serenity and accepted mysteries and disillusionments, and the tenderness of a few good people, and new opportunities and ever so much of life, in a word, will remain’. (Written in 1883)
The great wave of grief that was Good Friday has passed, and Mary Magdalene and the community of Jesus’s followers find that they are still standing. Grief may have worn them, but they have worn it too, used it to rekindle hope, to underwrite a better life, to become the community of the resurrection.
This Pandemic too will pass, and life will go on, so much will remain. And, perhaps, much will change and deepen amongst us, as it did for Jesus’s followers on that first Easter. We may learn to live our lives more carefully, more compassionately, more aware of our and the earth’s fragility and choose to live more generously, gently and justly. And death and sorrow will not have the last word amongst us.
Alleluia, Christ is Risen!