Easter has long been my favourite time of year mostly because whether it comes early or late, it is always a harbinger of Spring. However, this Easter is proving to be a different experience altogether. The current lockdown has turned our lives upside down and inside out as it were. So dramatic and sudden has been the change that many are wondering if life will ever return to ‘normal’ or ever be the same again.
Faced with such a scenario, where are we to draw hope from and find spiritual sustenance for what may well turn out to be a long haul? People will have their own ways of coping with a situation like the one we are in. For me, and not because of my calling, it is prayerful reflection on the scriptures. Without wishing to sound pious, I invariably find hope and comfort in reflecting on the Word of God. And never more so than in this Easter season when so many of the daily liturgical readings speak of Hope and the New Life won for us by the Resurrection.
And my favourite Easter prayer is a short scattering of words by the Victorian poet and priest, Gerard Manley Hopkins – “Let Him Easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness in us”. I love his use of Easter as a verb instead of a noun. It is a powerful reminder that Easter is something that happens to us. It is about living, about being transformed. Christ enters and “easters” in us, sharing his risen life with us. It echoes St Paul’s famous statement: “it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me”. (Galatians 2:19-20). How powerful and hope-filled is that!
So maybe in these difficult times whenever we are feeling anxious, depressed or just plain bored, we could recite as a mantra Hopkins’ lines about letting Him ‘easter’ in us and be our dayspring of Hope.