For many, smaller churches, there will be no music to speak of today – maybe a CD to listen to, but no rousing Easter hymns to join in with. The normal joyous triumph of Easter will be somewhat muted. Even if singing was possible, many would feel no triumph: we are still bound by necessary rules, and many have lost family and friends to the Virus.
The Psalmist asked how it was possible to sing God’s song in a strange land. This year we have no answer to that question.
And yet we are not far from that first Easter morning. It wasn’t at all triumphant: it was, if you read the Gospels carefully, extremely confusing. Jesus was mistaken for the gardener. The disciples refused to believe what they were told. Some missed it altogether. Some looked in the wrong place. Jesus’ tomb was disastrously empty: who had stolen the body? Peter had a guilty conscience because he’d denied knowing Jesus, and Judas had hanged himself. All terribly inglorious.
It all began quietly, confusingly and chaotically. Over the coming weeks, the message sank in and people began to understand the enormity and wonder of what had happened, but they didn’t work the theology out for quite some time.
It can take a lifetime to work out what it means that Jesus rose from the dead – is alive. Like the first Christians we have to let it sink in, and work out what it means – the ‘therefore’. In fact, it’s harder for us because we haven’t seen it all with our own eyes – we are the ones who have not seen, yet still believe.
The current, strange times, offer a rare opportunity to allow Easter to dawn quietly, confusingly and uncertainly. We can take time to work it out: we don’t have to understand it all straight away. We can come to know that ‘Christ is risen’ more deeply and profoundly.
May God bless us all in this confusing but very authentic Easter day!