These few of days before Easter Sunday are always full of anticipation. It’s quite active, noisy anticipation I find. The quiet of Lent seems a way behind us already. From Thursday evening on, we move into preparing for Easter. The church services change hugely in feel from the familiar of the Sunday mass I am used to. The Passion of Christ is a dramatic tale of vengeance, torture, death and despair. The services themselves use the dramatic techniques of silence, movement, delivery of words in various voices, light and dark, set changes, the lot. It makes it very easy to get into the story, the sadness, the feeling of a great wrong being done and most of all the sheer inevitability of the death of Christ.
I find it a personally challenging couple of days. I now I am not supposed to complain about the strictures of Lenten fasting, but from Maundy Thursday on, I feel the pain of the fasting. It’s the anticipation – I know on Sunday I can feast, but not until Sunday. I long for wine and chocolate in a way I haven’t all through Lent. I find the services both a familiar framework and a strange and disturbing intrusion on my usual routines.
But tomorrow will come and tomorrow will be joyous. The pinnacle of the Christian faith, when the inevitability of a new dawn, of a new beginning, of being held in love comes to pass. The strictures will end, I will be feasting on mini eggs and prosecco.
You know where this is going, but I am struggling a bit to draw the comparison clearly to the wider feelings I am having about isolation. I have hope that my family and I will come out of this unscathed. In a global sense this too shall pass. But, this Easter, I am scared. I am scared about what this virus is going to do to hundreds of thousands around the world. I know that behind the statistics we are already seeing are whole families grieving. Staying at home is easy for me who has a comfortable and safe home and the resources to get food as I need it. This is far from true for millions of others. Living in a refugee camp, in a country with a fragile health system, in a violent home, in the middle of an armed conflict make the effects of coronavirus devastating.
Then I remember that the disciples do not stop being scared during Easter. In fact, they stay scared and hidden for weeks. So I am taking comfort from the fact that fear is also a part of the Easter story. I have hope and I have faith that that will get me through somehow.