“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. Alleluia!” Psalm,118:1-2.
Jesus, with his outstretched arms (above), is a bronze sculpture by Dale Zarrella entitled “Resurrection.” The intent of the artist is to remind us of the crucifixion. Rising to new life, the resurrection is an extension of the cross.
Along with the world community, our nation, and our state of California, we celebrate both Easter and Passover and face a health emergency, the likes of which we have never seen before.
To find the right words or even a consoling sentiment may require the creativity of a poet or, perhaps, the endurance of a saint. Yet, on this day, as the writer Anne Lamott reminds us: “We are an Easter people, living in a Good Friday world!”
What is a preacher to say on Easter Sunday, 2020?
In the confines of my own life, for the past few days, I’ve been reading Erik Larson’s new book, “The Splendid and the Vile.” This book is an account of Winston Churchill in his first year as Prime Minister and during the worst of the London Blitz. His sentiment and voice moved England in a time of uncertainty and fear.
When the full-moon shone, the potential for mass aerial bombings significantly increased. Amid this turmoil, at a private gathering, the wife of one of Churchill’s war cabinet approached the great orator and told him that the best thing he had done was to give people courage. Churchill disagreed. “I never gave them courage,” he said. “I was able to focus theirs.”
Today, we see so many examples of how courage marks the lives of our health care workers, nurses, physicians, scientists, police, firefighters, grocery clerks, and service personnel on the front lines. I take courage and find strength from our students, seniors, and especially young parents, and all whose lives are adjusting to new conditions of working, learning, governing, leading, and, most of all, caring for one another.
What is a preacher to say?
About a year ago, I came across the writings of college professor/theologian, Franciscan Sister Ilia Delio, she writes: “For how we love and the degree to which we love is how to live forever.” On this Easter Sunday, Sister Ilia reminds us to lean on the power of God:
“God lives in us and the world in a new way. Open the doors and let God in. Fear is driven out by perfect love. If we can begin to love in the path of suffering and death by leaning on the power of God’s love within, then we will not die, and the world will find its peace. For how we love and the degree to which we love is how to live forever.”
This Easter, let us pray that we have the bravery to re-imagine our lives.
The real courage that brings an end to our present suffering and heals aching humanity.
Happy and Blessed Easter!
Rosary Chapel, Santa Catalina School, Monterey, CA.
“Embraced by big skies, we will trust God again,” are the lyrics to a song about courage in Bergamo, Italy. The City of Bergamo, with its surrounding province, is the hardest-hit part of Italy with a potential toll of 4,500 deaths, the most confirmed coronavirus cases anywhere in Europe. Bergamo was the birthplace of Angelo Roncalli, whose saintly ministry gave name to the “Pope John XXIII Hospital” at the very epicenter of this health emergency. In loving tribute to his fellow citizens, the songwriter Roby Facchinetti composed “Rinascero, Rinaserai” (“I’ll be reborn, you’ll be reborn”), an anthem of courage on Easter Sunday. My thanks to Benita & John Quinn, who shared this YouTube video – in a recent email.