Easter hope doesn’t have to be ‘understood’ to be experienced

(A post for those interested in Christian perspectives. Written before the coronavirus crisis.)

Easter is the major Christian festival. It’s when we focus on the death and suffering of Jesus, and his victorious resurrection which contains the promise of our own. It’s easy to say “Happy Easter” but for many people – even those attending church at Easter – it might not be so easy to live it.

I think ‘living Easter’ means living in hope.

I have encountered plenty of people who are grieving yet are also brimming with faith. For them, Easter is going to be a joyous celebration.

But I have also encountered plenty of people who identify as Christians but who have been struggling deeply since their bereavement. Maybe it has become difficult to pray. What words can we say to the God who did not save our loved one from the death that took them from us? It could be a struggle with a lack of faith, or an anger at God, or simply no longer having confidence in prayer. For them, the hope they used to hold might be greatly diminished, if it hasn’t been completely destroyed.

We each walk our own path in life. For some, that path leads us away from the faith that used to comfort us. For others, we really want to keep on the way of faith, even as we struggle with it.

If this is your situation, perhaps the following reflections might be something you can relate to.

Somehow…

Springtime always feels like a time to look forward in hope. It’s Easter, and what is this but the promise of resurrection. Resurrection is a concept that is beyond my finite brain. It’s a promise that we will see our loved ones again. Somehow!

There are quite a few somehows that I can’t grasp with my natural mind. For instance, the bulbs we planted in autumn remained deep in the dark soil throughout the long weeks of the cold winter. And then spring buds peeked through the surface; flowers emerged. During those months, the cells inside the bulbs multiplied, they grew, they came to life as a flower. I’m sure there are botanists and people with more scientific knowledge than me that can understand and explain what happened there. But I can’t. These flowers are simply amazing to me.

Even though I personally can’t give a scientific explanation, I still planted the bulbs. I still had hope. And it strikes me that it isn’t necessary to understand everything to have hope.

In the context of grief and loss, hope doesn’t mean that our daily lives are suddenly and miraculously transformed beyond recognition. The winter was still long, dark and cold. We still endure gaps as we go through each day; we still have moments of deep sadness as we miss our loved ones. But springtime and Easter is a reminder there is hope that it will not always be like this, whether we grasp the mechanics of the processes of hope or not.

This is a poem I wrote, reflecting on these thoughts. It might seem dark, but keep reading to the end. And that’s another a message for everyone who is grieving; however dark it seems at the moment, keep going, you haven’t reached the end yet.

The hope of the resurrection

The soil is brown and dark
Rain mixed with clay
Heavy mud.

The soil is saturated now.
It absorbs no more
Puddles form on sludge.

The sky is dark with clouds
Blocking the sun
Shadows dim the scene

The air is chill now
A cold breeze stirs the surface
Of a puddle on the ground

Leaves shrivel in the cold
Veins of green turn brown
Falling discarded to the ground

On this dark cold day
It seems too quiet
Nature sleeps.

The dim silence
The grey puddles
The muddy ground
The loss, the death.

Is this all there is?
Will it change?
Is there any reason to hope?

In the stillness
A bud peeks up through the mud.
A tiny green bud.

It has lain sleeping
In the dark, damp ground.
Under the puddles,
Midst the soil
Under the leaves
Down below

It sent out roots.
Fine roots, twisting and turning
Down, down they reached
Silently seeking nourishment.

Up, up the bud reached up.
Looking for the light.
Establishing its presence

Life breaks through
The saturated ground gives way
Rotting leaves are pushed aside

Up pushes the bud
Confident now
Come snow or rain
Give it time
It will flower again

Upwards, defying gravity.
Upwards, ignoring death.
Upwards, to its destiny
It forms a flower head.

And then the golden trumpet
Bursts forth in glorious flame
It waves itself in joy and grace

Thus the Easter promise blooms –
No matter the darkness of this day
It is promised, they will live again.


In conclusion, I don’t think it’s necessary to understand the Easter promise in order to have hope in it.

And I hope…

And I also wish you a Happy Easter, along with the wish that we will each find the words to say what is in our hearts, whether to God or anyone else.

DSC02368

I don’t know how the tulips grew – technically and scientifically – yet they did.

Read more

Easter hopes – whispers and shouts

Breathless waiting

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.