Easter and COVID -19: A Hermit’s Reflection
These are strange times indeed - for the majority of us a moment in time like no other. In this moment, Corona virus is global and transformative. It is ‘the bread and wine’ of a new Passover that the human family is passing through. We will get through Covid-19, together, and we will be transformed. Life will not be a return to things as - it cannot be. The price of indifference to and denial of what we are living with and through, is too urgent for the human species to ignore. Through - out this global moment of togetherness we see and experience all about us, expressions of genuine altruism: loving kindness, care, and concern for one another. These are the ingredients, the yeast, as it were that give birth to ‘the communion’, the union which is the Body of Christ, or as Saint Paul urges in Ephesians 4:15-16 … “to grow in all ways into Christ”.
It goes without saying then that, due to the Corona virus, traditional Lenten observences and the celebration of Easter within gathered faith communities have been and will be different this year. Covid-19 veritably shut down almost everything, surfacing universal suffering, anxiety, and fear: fear of economic loss, loss of a sense of direction, loss of a sense of self, a loss of faith rituals and practices, or in some cases, even a loss of faith itself. These human realities carry deep human emotions and darkness. They are the sacramental materials, the bread and wine of life, that will comprise the Easter Tridum this year. We know experientially, in the recesses of our heart, that death is integral to life, that the impulse of life is to more life, and that out of the greatest darkness is born the greatest illumination of light. This heart knowledge is ‘Resurrected Life’: the Universal Resurrected Christ alive and active within us and our universe. Trust it, it is our Easter Hope.
I would like to share with you some of the ways I will celebrate the Easter Vigil in my home since a celebration with the faith community is not possible this year.
My table will be my altar; on it I will have my Lenten picture of Jesus before Pilate in which Jesus is surrounded by light, a rose and picture of my friend Cora who now enjoys the fullness of Resurrected Life.
At Easter I will place upon the table-altar a lighted candle recalling the original fire (13.8 billion or so years} of creative love that flowed through creation and continues to do so in creative ways, and is present and active in the Paschal candle. In a crystal bowl I will pour fresh water to remind me that I am a piece of crystal born from Baptismal water. I will cook a piece of lamb (my favorite meat), recalling that life is a dynamic of sacrifice and is symbolize in Jesus the sacificial Lamb. I will pour myself a glass of wine, sip slowly the joys and sorrow of life, recall to mind all who have loved me, and also recall those I failed to love. I will make bread and hot cross buns and offer them to my companions here in my apartment building.
My reading and solitary prayer will consist of Jesus and Passover by Anthony J. Saldarini, God’s Ecstasy by Beatrice Bruteau, The Mass on the World from Piere Teilhard de Chardin’s, The Hymn of the Universe. I will listen to Handel’s Messiah, and stay close to the conversation between Jesus and Martha.
“Jesus said to Martha, “I am the Resurrection…Do you believe this?” John 11:25
Easter Blessing to all.
Reflection by Sheila O’Handley, Port Morien
Also found on the Antigonish Diocese website.