It’s Holy Week, lent is almost over and with Palm Sunday yesterday and Good Friday in a few days time we have this week between. A time where we sit and remember the events of over 2000 years ago, the events which changed everything. Last year I wrote that I’ve always been an Easter person. I wrote out of pain and sadness that things were still pretty grim in our day to day lives, out of the pain of seeing my favourite and best still be haunted and affected by the ghosts of the past. He’s still not great but we ride up and down the waves of the good and bad moments each day. Last year, through the pain, I wrote out of a desire to connect with the events of Easter again.
Yesterday I spoke to my lovely brother and we talked of the weirdness of not being able to do Easter in church this year. We reminisced about events which marked our childhood. We mentioned the rhythms involved in our Easter celebrations when we were teenagers: Word Alive for a week followed by events at our home church, St Saviours, in Guildford. Good Friday- for him with his Urban Saints group and me up at the Cathedral or at the 3 hours at the cross service at church. Easter Sunday and the sunrise service by the river that we both got up early and cycled to, whilst our parents stayed in bed, then the joys and party like atmosphere at our Easter Praise evening service, the music, the sight of our Vicar thumping along with the band on the organ to Thine be the Glory (organ solos are a thing people). Easter was a BIG deal for us.
Easter still is a big deal in my heart and mind. Whatever I make of the stuff which surrounds this faith in Jesus thing, this is the story I can never get away from. The story that grounds me to the earth. The story of a curtain torn, God and God’s people reconciled together, the beginning of the sadness of the world coming undone by the man taking on the brokenness of the world deep within himself, the silence of the darkest day echoing the silence of our darkest days and then the wonder and joy of resurrection, new life, death losing it’s sting and there being hope for our lives beyond this immediate world in front of our eyes.
I loved joining our church a few years ago because we are a church that does Easter well, with Passover suppers, dark sad Good Friday services, then wonder filled coffee on the beach coupled with big joyful songs back in our church building on Easter Sunday morning. I am gutted we won’t be doing these things in person this year. However, I remain determined not to forget the reality of Easter in these strange times we live in.
I could talk about Easter for days. And so I probably will over this week, to remind myself, to bring me hope in these lockdown days, to hold onto the reality of Easter even though this year it will be devastating not to be able to mark the events together with our church family.
Each morning we open resurrection eggs with the boys and try not to get too annoyed about the fights as to who gets to open the egg and who gets to blue-tac the picture and bible verses to the wall. Each morning we remember a different aspect of the Easter story. This year we are zoning in on Palm Sunday, the upper room and feet washing, the breaking of bread and drinking of wine, Gethsemane, Peter’s rejection and the guards mockery, the death of Jesus, the quietness of Saturday and then the Empty Tomb on Sunday morning.
This morning we read about Jesus washing his disciples feet and again I was amazed at the kind of God we have, a God who came to serve and not be served. Son1 is obsessed with Greek Gods at the moment, having read a lot of Percy Jackson books. It’s so telling that when we thought about the Greek gods we wondered if they would ever wash people’s feet. It seems such a scandal to have a God like ours, one we would never create on our own. The gods we create are those which reflect our love of power, control and being in charge. The God of gods blows away all of that and doesn’t grasp power, rejects control and comes to wash our feet. Jesus came to do something for us rather than have us do something for him.
I am full of negative comparisons at the moment, full of feeling a lack of productivity in my work, feeling like I can’t do much in this full on world we inhabit at the moment. Maybe that’s ok, maybe this world can show to me how much Jesus wants to do for me and the ways of service, rather than me doing lots or proving how brilliant I am. Maybe it’s ok not to be in control or in charge. Maybe it’s ok to stick my feet out and have them washed clean.