Easter: A new beginning for wounded humanity and our depleted planet

Apr 9, 2023
Minimal terrestrial globe of an egg.

An Easter reflection on romantic weddings, love, and our global context. Towards a ‘Calming of souls’ and a ‘lightness of being’.

Preparing for an upcoming Easter- time wedding, I asked the couple, spontaneously, what they love about each other.

It was an innocent question. It is a joy to be invited into wedding celebrations and able to ask such questions!

“I love the way ‘Luke’ calms my soul” ‘Kate’ said, elaborating then about his generosity and practical thoughtfulness.

Then ‘Luke’ said, “I love ‘Kate’s’ lightness of being”. He went on to convey his appreciation of her warmth and humour; her vocational commitment and competency.

Spontaneously, these young people of heart and mind, spoke of their love so poetically.

I was so touched by their gratitude for each other -for a companion who “calms my soul” and for one who lives with a “lightness of being”.

In our wedding preparations, we also spoke a little about the place of forgiveness in relationships. We make mistakes. We hurt when we hope to heal. How we manage our mistakes makes such a difference to the way of our love .

Coming up to Holy Week and Easter, I am so aware of the synergies between these wedding conversations and the spiritual truths of Easter season. I spoke of this to a dear Muslim friend of spiritual sensitivity who was likewise touched by the poetic beauty of these young lovers.

To elaborate briefly here, Jesus goes to the Cross offering forgiveness, somehow.

In our Holy Trinity Port Melbourne Parish, we have been studying ‘forgiveness’ from last Holy Week in 2022 to now.

We have let this wisdom slowly percolate.

The practicality of it becomes plainer- getting out of our heads those people who have caused us pain; the benefits herein of mantric meditation so that when the same thoughts come about them, we can go to ‘Jesus have mercy’ or ‘Maranatha’ until there is some peace of mind. We may or may not be able to improve our relationship with people who have caused us pain. The point is not to have them in our head in a hateful and resented way.

The statement of Nelson Mandela cuts through whenever it is shared. It is a reminder of the practicality of forgiveness over resentment:

“Hating (or resenting) someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Then too, over the months, we have come to better appreciate how much more ‘forgiving’ there is in us still to do! Especially if we have rather more ‘lived in faces’!

Said one dear soul, ahead of Holy Week, ”I thought I’d finished. Then there was this one.. Then another person, long forgotten.” All this unhappy weight just sitting in our souls!

As a parish, we didn’t plan to Study Forgiveness For a Year!

I embed our six studies in our Orders of Service after Easter 2022.

Forgiveness – A Study Guide

There wasn’t much obvious response from folk. When I asked for any written reflections, there was only one.

But the thinking about ‘Forgiveness’ somehow continued and, without planning it, people who came to our Church kept telling their ‘forgiveness ‘stories.

So, without any real planning, we have just become a group of people who think about ‘forgiveness’ more than we expected!

We have been led into this.

I imagine the same thing is happening in other places.

Wounded humanity and our depleted planet definitely need a new beginning.

The relentless, unforgiving war in Ukraine has been vivid from the last Holy Week to this one. In our Church, as in many, we have had the icon of Kyiv beside the altar for the entire year.

There is a place in the Gospels where, ahead of the Cross, Jesus asks: ”why are you trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth.”

Jesus asks why, having seen his good works, they cannot be more loving. (John 8.39-42).

Are we not prompted to ask the same question of those locked into an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality and relentlessly pursuing a new arms race?

Aside from the terrible risks of nuclear annihilation, this will have such an opportunity cost, causing more of the poor to starve, our health and educational systems to be depleted.

All this by people who have barely met and who have not put themselves in a place of dialogue where the history of relational mistakes can be patiently understood, addressed, even resolved.

Why, in the gift of life of the few decades we each know we have on our beautiful planet, are we headed in this unloving direction?

It makes no sense!

It is so unkind to the little children who depend on us for a safe future.

Truly, all this madness is brought into sharper focus by the Easter story.

Yes, and in a way that both renews our hope and is in symmetry with the poetic loveliness of my Easter wedding couple.

After rising from the dead, Jesus comes amongst the anxious disciples and “calms their souls” with the gift of peace.(John 20.19-21)

With a playful ‘lightness of being, ‘the Risen Jesus surprises them later with a breakfast by the sea and a conversation about love!(John 21.4-19)

Free of enmity, giving and forgiving, full of grace, the Risen Jesus shows us how we can live.

Out the front of our Church this week a young mum asked me to explain Easter to her 8-year old.

He had his football in his hand and had just come from school.

His eyes conveyed he thought he was going to have to listen to something long and complicated.

“Love’s the answer”, I said and he went back to twirling his football.

Easter is a love story for everyone.

The relevance for the global family today is vivid.

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