If I had read last summer a science fiction novel about a super bug that forced most of the world’s population to live in self-isolation bubbles, that crippled economies and brought international travel to a halt, I may have enjoyed the book, but merely as a work of fiction.
Now in Easter Week we know that the unimaginable has actually happened.
Covid-19 has shattered the illusion that we are somehow invulnerable.
We find ourselves feeling as helpless as our ancestors did when terrible plagues decimated local populations, except that this one has global tentacles.
Many of us in the post-coronavirus era will be re-examining our personal priorities. Hopefully, we will be paying special attention to kindness and compassion towards those most in need, starting with those in our own families and neighbourhoods.
This crisis will also prompt many people to ask deeper questions, because human beings innately resist the thought of personal extinction. Despite the fact that death eventually claims us all, our secret longing is that this is not the end of the story.
Even secular funerals often let slip the hope that we will one day “meet again” with the deceased.
The Easter story confirms this human yearning for some new life, with no more pain or suffering or tearful farewells.
Easter also prompts us to reflect more deeply on who Jesus is.
St John opens his Gospel with the majestic, but mysterious, prologue: “In the beginning was the Word . . . All things came into being through him . . . And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory.”
Following his conversion, St Paul could think of no one but Jesus: “I regard everything as rubbish because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8)
During these Easter days, it would be great if we could pray to see Jesus more clearly so that we can work more effectively as his missionary disciples when life gradually returns to normal, as it surely will over time.
— Bishop Patrick Dunn