This Easter Triduum will be unlike any we have experienced. Three short weeks ago, most of us expected we would be back in our churches by now, basking in the familiar patterns of rite and ritual, grateful to have concluded these enforced days of separation. Now we wonder about Pentecost and even beyond. What began as an annoyance has become an existential threat. Holy Week has actually become the narrative trajectory of our lived experience.
A chorus penned by John Lennon has been looping through my head the past few days. “Nobody told me there’d be days like these. Strange days, indeed!” It actually makes me smile because, in truth, I’ve been told plenty of times; and throughout my life. In Sunday School I’d been taught the story of the people of Israel with its attendant tales of plague, woe, misery and hardship. From my mom and dad I’d heard the stories of the Great Depression and what it meant to live in times of fear, uncertainty and scarcity. I still remember the cold war era “duck and cover” drills we experienced in early grade school. I had been told the story of my maternal great grandmother who had died when the Spanish flu had ravaged the community of Windsor, Nova Scotia in 1918. I had been told there’d be days like these, lots of times! I’d simply forgotten.
But there’s no forgetting now. Nothing feels the same. Everything seems different. The world really has changed, in ways we are only beginning to know and understand. But some things haven’t changed. And the truth of some things have, indeed, become clearer and more focussed. The love of family. The need for community. The faithfulness of a loving God. Our dependence on these things has become crystal clear, as indeed they always have for those within the human family, both past and present, who have found themselves living, like us, in uncertain and fearful times.
Many people, me included, have also been depending on you to help us spiritually navigate these strange waters. As your bishop, I need you to know that I have been deeply moved and powerfully inspired by the faithfulness and creativity with which you have engaged that work in recent weeks. Whether low tech, hi tech or no tech! You have faithfully lived out your vocations in beautiful ways that are appropriate to your respective contexts! I am so very proud of you!
Dear sisters and brothers, as you lead our people through the Great Three Days, I want you to know that I have never felt more connected to you; in prayer, in faith, in practice. You are a blessing to me and you have made my heart full. Looking ahead, we know that things may well get worse before they get better. But we also know that in faith, we will – indeed and in time – get through this. Remember, strange days can also bring strange blessings. But they are blessings, nonetheless. May you experience
such blessings in abundance as you lead our church during these holy days! Resurrection is coming!
Count on it!