Church of England Diocese of Hereford Billingsley

Thought for the week, 4th April; The long road of Easter

Easter is, for good reasons, seen as the most important celebration of the Christian year. Even those of no faith can see the symbolism of renewal and rebirth, that death does not have the final word. Last year we had just started lock-down at Easter; now we are being released from it. On the face of things, surely celebrations will be all the greater this year?

Perhaps, but there are still uncertainties. I hope our churches are full on Easter Sunday, but I have my doubts; I suspect many people need time to process what has happened over the last year. It is striking that in most of the accounts of the resurrection; Mark, Luke and John, the immediate reaction of those who discovered the empty tomb was not rejoicing or a great outpouring of faith. It was rather bewilderment and fear. The empty tomb, by itself, does not seem to have been very convincing. It took more; experiences of the risen Jesus to convince his followers that he had risen. In the well-known story of the Emmaus road, two disciples walk with Jesus, invite him into their home and share a meal with him before suddenly they recognise him.

Faith is very often not about a quick fix. Rather, it is often a slow process involving bewilderment, disappointment and wrong turns. Eventually we may recognise Christ alongside us, but we should not be surprised if that only happens after a long period of reflection. There is a reason why people of faith so often describe their lives as a journey or pilgrimage; it is a process that takes a lifetime.