THE HOPE OF EASTER
“Was no-one found to return to give thanks to God….?
Luke Ch. 17:18.
Those words are taken form the encounter Jesus had with the ten men suffering from leprosy. I invite you to read the whole incident because it gives a clear example of both gratitude and ingratitude. I hope you will forgive me that it is not a typical reading from the Easter story which we might normally have focused upon, but I chose it because I think it has something important to say to us in the light of the current crisis countless people in the world are facing today, for which we ourselves are not immune. Sadly, I know of some who have already lost loved ones and the sense of loss is great.
But the story of the ten has parallels. We are all in a state of separation and withdrawal today due to the cause and effects of a disease we have, at this moment, little control over. This disconnection is made all the harder to come to terms with when it is imposed upon us. Human beings are relational and our natural human instinct is for engagement, not detachment, for intimacy not isolation. No doubt we long once more for those special moments with family, to be able to socialise with friends and to live and enjoy life as we always have in the company of others. But at this moment in time we are denied these innate longings.
It feels to me matters are made all the worse when some in the political sphere use the present crises as an opportunity for political point scoring, or presenters use their position to vent their anger. We need someone to blame seems to be the mantra. This approach only fosters deeper discord and dissatisfaction with our situation. It only drives us apart. That does not mean we shouldn’t scrutinize carefully and form clear opinions about the impact of decisions which seriously affect our daily lives, but there has be a recognition that we are in this together. There aren’t any easy solutions to an ever-unfolding emergency. Those in authority are, in my humble view, trying their best to get it right. Without that evaluation we are simply even more alienated.
Perhaps an anti-dote to all this is to cultivate a sense of gratitude. I do not at all say this lightly. Gratitude may be hard to find for many at this moment in time. But even in the worst of times, it can help us to look away from ourselves and appreciate, for example, the sterling work of so many workers in numerous branches of the NHS, giving their all for our wellbeing. I feel it is so appropriate that as I write this at 8.00pm tonight people all over the UK are invited to step out of their front doors and applaud their amazing efforts. May that same gratitude resound for that army of kind hearts, over half a million, who have volunteered to help vulnerable people in their communities. And for those of us of faith, may our gratitude fill the air in the God from whom nothing, in heaven or on earth, can separate us from His love in Christ. Which, my friends, takes us back to Easter.
God bless you and keep you.