“celebrate good times” Kool & the Gang
I don’t suppose many people celebrated the 23rd March. A year ago this day, lockdown started in the UK. Unbelievable as it seems, we have now been under covid restrictions one way or another for just over a year. Who would have thought it, a year ago?
Around this time we also celebrated Easter, as we do every year during March or April. Take a look at the first picture. It is the very first image I shared with you in 2020, that of the Anastasia Icon, an icon which shows Christ in Hell. It is the icon of Holy Saturday, a time of waiting and in-between, a time of ‘no hope’, after the crucifixion and before the story of Christ’s resurrection.
I wonder what the Romans and Jews thought about the early Christians’ first Easter anniversary? Did they think, perhaps, that they were completely mad to celebrate the death of their leader, the utter decimation of all they had hoped for? Or was there some hope beyond this that overcame the apparent narrative, evident in the lives of the believers?
My husband and I celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary at the beginning of March. When I say ‘celebrated’, we gave each other gifts and cards. That was about it. What else could we do? The big party we had been planning for over a year is on ice, like so many people’s. I heard recently the theory that the roaring twenties were not, in fact, just a reaction to the terrible events of the first world war but were also a celebration of the ability to get together in large groups and have fun after the isolation of the Spanish Flu. Makes sense to be honest.
The second picture was a print I made as a gift for my husband. It shows the church window where we got married. We got married under difficult circumstances, which I won't go into here. Our wedding was on a windy, grey March day in a cold lonely chapel and yet in the midst of all this, a butterfly, completely out of season, appeared and flew across the altar as we said our vows. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but for a butterfly to emerge, the caterpillar must effectively die. Once it becomes a chrysalis, it consumes itself, radically rearranging its internal organs to become a new creature. It has to completely let go of what it was to become what it will be. The butterfly has often been used as a symbol of the Easter story for good reason.
And maybe that’s why Easter, which so often gets overlooked by Christmas, is, in fact, the big event of the Christian year. Because it’s a celebration of the triumph of life, of hope, of joy. It is the ‘opening up’ after the restriction of the tomb, it is the ‘new now’. I just hope that we are brave enough to reinvent ourselves to make a more beautiful world when the pandemic finally has gone.
Take time to look at the pictures and consider these questions:
-where are you still feeling ‘in-between’?
-what are your hopes?
-what can you transform?
We are going to repeat the first action from last year. Sometimes its good to revisit something. You will need a series of circular objects from small to large, pencil, paper, felt tips if you have them or other way of colouring (pencil, biro etc)
- draw around your largest round object with the pencil, then place the next largest object inside it and draw around it. Keep going inwards until you have draw around all your circular objects.
- Now colour each circle as you wish, thinking about the aura of darkness and light, as seen in the Anastasia icon. You may wish to make two versions, one with dark in the centre going out to light and vice versa. What uncertainty do you see in the world we live in? And what uncertainty do you find within? What hope do you find outside in the world we live in? And what hope do you find within yourself? What has changed since this time last year? If you are a person of faith you may like to invite or find God into the chrysalis of uncertainty and the butterfly of hope.
This meditation is commissioned by Leeds Methodist Mission