April 14, 2022

Apr 21, 2022

Image: Barbara Ryther

Life, death.  Hope, grief.

This year the Reflections group struggled with how to deal with Lent, trying to decide whether it was more important to acknowledge and give space to people’s fears and uncertainties over an ongoing pandemic and a new and terrifying war or to offer hope and a ray of light.

It turns out we can do both, and we should do both.

Life, death.  Hope, grief.

It’s not really a choice.  Life, death, hope and grief are always part of our lives in this world and it does our experience a disservice to try and separate or artificially confine them.

We mark Lent on our calendars, starting with Ash Wednesday and counting 40 days. We confine Christ’s passion to a week – or avoid thinking about it at all so we can put on new clothes and celebrate Easter Sunday surrounded by flowers and music. And yet the Lenten invitation to contemplate and join Christ’s journey is always open to us, and even if we lose focus throughout the year, we pick up that road at different times in our lives.  When we look unflinchingly at Christ’s humanity, suffering and sacrifice for us we begin to truly grasp Easter.

As we approach Holy Week and Easter it’s important to remember that unlike those first followers of Jesus, we have never known the crucifixion without the resurrection.  The two are bound together for us, even sharing the same sentence of the Nicene Creed.  “…he suffered death and was buried, and rose again…”   Death, grief, life and hope, separated by no more than a comma.

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

Death and life. Grief and hope.

Barbara Ryther