Easter week – Mel
It’s Easter Week, I have been really blessed by the true meaning of Easter in Bo’ness. Although I have been Christian for more than 12 years, it wasn’t until I moved to this town that I got to appreciate the joy of joining with other Christians from other traditions to celebrate our festival throughout Holy Week.
This point of the week is when Jesus asks of his disciples:
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 ESV)
My friend of Anglo-Catholic spirituality, for instance, introduced me to more contemplative perspectives of following Christ through His journey toward the Cross; Maundy Thursday service is a stark reminder of the desolation the disciples would have felt as imagery in churches is covered from view.
What is interesting to me about the traditional experience of Easter as a Christian festival, is that although the spring festivities of new life are relevant they cannot be claimed as just for Christians. As part of Churches Together, we get various chances to join in unity across the calendar but I would say that this time of year, and certainly this year, has less distractions. For me, Easter asks me to celebrate fellowship. The Gospel speaks for itself here, there should be no exclusivity.
Easter Sunday 2 years ago I met my now husband’s family for the first time. I had questions for him as to how it was to go and what I should bring. Introduced to his church family and family on the one day made me nervous. I knew that this Sunday was the least of all I could shy away from. When I took my seat, a woman across the aisle gave me a warm smile and called herself Ruth, I nodded in agreement. Moments later I learned she was in fact Richard’s mum.
For lent this year I decided to take up gratitude, it has been a gentle reminder to count blessings in a season of hermitude; a pattern a hermit lives by? Our ‘hermit rule’?
One of my favourite things about Church is having people over, coming together for food and communing together. Jesus had His last supper the night he was betrayed, we are to continue eating together in both remembrance of Him and in celebration on every occasion possible. I could write tomes about the simplicity, necessity and opportunity eating together provides each of us. Reading about various communities who gather around eating, it becomes clear that this communion is a leveller and our common need to eat permits barriers of position and worth to fall. As Barbara Glasson writes in her biographic account of a bread-making group that pioneered a movement; I am somewhere else. ‘[the bread church]… is showing us how it is possible to be together as a gathering of completely random people on hugely different trajectories in life’. Is this not the essence of what church is?
We have had a somewhat simple and slow approach to life for some months but we are still finding this time as a chance to reset on bad habits and get odd jobs started or finished- I am a bit crafty, making homemade toys for our new cat and I have an unwanted snail hotel in the garden to address.
We cannot commune as I have championed above but my enthusiasm and gratitude for togetherness in lack of it stirs a hope for us to be take opportunities to celebrate communion when next we are able. This puts me in mind of the Hebrews verse
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (10 24-5 NIV)
Communion at this time, will be to keep in touch; offering help and support where possible, conspiring encouragement in new and adaptable ways and trying to remember to be kind and gracious when others are struggling.