I thought I’d share this with you. It was sent to me by a very old friend:
Today is a waiting time; we live through the darkness just as Jesus’ disciples did, behind closed doors fearing for our lives, with the image of death fresh in our memories. For them, and us, the dawn seemed a long way off and the thought of a new beginning an impossibility!
This Holy Saturday, like the last days of Lent, is so different from the years when we shared with our sisters and brothers the Easter sorrow that leads to Easter Joy. For us this year there will be no vigil, no braziers at church doors to warm cold hands and sinking hearts! No early morning journey to the open grave, no song of praise.
It is on days like this that I am so grateful for the years of teaching offered to me – from today’s ministers via those who brought me to faith and nurtured my journey right back to Cassie Davies, the Sunday school teacher who called every Sunday at 2.00p.m. to carry me, not quite three years old, to the Dosbarth Babanod (beginners class) at Noddfa Chapel on the Treorchy High Street, where I first learned “ Iesu Tirion gwel yn awr.” Watching today’s generation sing the same hymn assures me the gentle love of Jesus will never desert us! https://youtu.be/4AI1xjBemro
So we will live through this Saturday, and every lonely isolated day, for we know come the dawn, we will rise to the knowledge that nothing can separate us from the love of God seen in the Risen Christ. With Paul we affirm that “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of Hell can separate us from God’s Love.” Romans 8:38.
How we live our lives can have a huge impact on those around us – we are all applauding those whose sacrifice goes deeper than most – yet each one, who provides food, a friendly wave from a distance; every parent who assists their child’s learning and encourages co-operation, everyone who lifts the phone or clicks a Face-time link is bringing love and hope to the lives of others!
As those who have heard our name called by Christ we each have a unique ministry to fulfil.
But Jesus also reminds us that he has other sheep, not of this fold who also work for the common good. (Mark 9: 38-40)
With that in mind I offer you some words from the end of Howard Zinn’s fantastic autobiography, ‘You Can’t Be Neutral On A Moving Train’.
Zinn was an American historian whose father, Eddie, had emigrated from Austria-Hungary before the outbreak of the First World War. He worked at a factory in Brooklyn where he met, Jenny Rabinowitzs from the Eastern Siberian city of Irkutsk.
He was born to this Jewish immigrant family on August 24th 1922. During the Great Depression his father worked as a ditch digger and window cleaner. Life was hard, neither of his parents were educated, but they managed to send 10cents to the New York Times-every week they received a book by Charles Dickens.
His family story of the persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe, together with the stories of Dickens made a huge impression on him. He began to challenge the way the United States saw its history. In time he wrote twenty books which critiqued the version told by those in power. His highly influential ‘A People’s History of the United States’ was a seminal moment for the American People and Zinn went on to become a leading civil rights and anti Vietnam war activist.
In spite of the many challenges he faced he remained ever hopeful, even in his death, in California in 2005. “Hope that transcends our current situation and which politicians never quite manage to plug into.”
Hopeful by Howard Zinn
To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasise in this complex history will determine our lives.
If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something.
If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory.
May you, in the midst of these very strange times know, and plug into, the joy and hope of Easter morning. Blessings and Love to you all.