Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Message of Easter

Dear Friends,

It is easy for us to forget that the message of Easter is for all seasons and not just springtime. Even now, as we glory in the fall season with the harshness of winter not far behind, we would do well to keep Easter at the heart of our being and doing. Easter is the culmination of a battle between life and death. In Jesus, we know that life wins out, but in our day to day lives, death challenges us mightily: the death of our hope, the death of aspirations  any time of the year. and  ideas that have not yet blossomed, the death of relationships that are tentative as buds. Easter flounders or flourishes in our hearts.
This battle between life and death, for which we claim victory through Christ is something that  other  cultures find true in their own way.

The desire to live is in us, no matter what part of the world we come from, no matter what we hold in faith, no matter where we have been transplanted. The Irish poet, John  O’Donohue  wrote  a poignant piece about being an exile and then coming to the Easter moment of  belonging in a new place. I offer excerpts of it here, that we may read it against the struggle between life and death, and find ourselves encouraging exiles from other places who have come to our land to Easter here with us:
                “When you dream, it is always of home. You are there among your own,
                 The rhythm of their voices rising like song…Then you awake to find yourself listening
                To  the sounds of traffic in another land. For a  moment , your whole body recoils
                At the strange emptiness of where you are…Nothing of you has happened here.
                No one knows you. The language slows you.
                The thick accent smothers your presence. ..
                The things you brought  from  home  Look back at you  out of place here …

                Now is the time to hold faithful To you dream, to understand  That this is an interim
               time full of awkward  disconnection. Gradually you will come to find Your way to
               friends who will open  doors to a new belonging. Your heart will brighten with new                        discovery. Your presence will unclench  And find ease, Letting your promise and
               substance been seen.

                Slowly a new world will open for you. The eyes of your heart, refined
                by this desert time, will be free To see and celebrate the new life     
                For which you have sacrificed everything.”

Easter is today for the refugee, the exile, the asylum seeker, the stranger in our midst. Recognizing their pain of loss, the deaths they have died along the way, let us stretch out our hands to them in love and offer them new life. After all, have we not also known the death and resurrection of Jesus ourselves?

-Sister Joan Sobala