Happy Easter Marlborough
By: Christopher Cookson
Last Modified: 12-4-2020 11:37
Easter under Covid-19 lockdown is certainly different; I'd normally be at church, on Easter Sunday morning, quite likely playing my violin and possibly Irish whistle in the band, but this year none of that is possible. At home, I still have my instruments, and a few more, and in our bubble of three; myself, my wife and our daughter, we'll still celebrate. We've had a bumper harvest of grapes at home this year, and I've made home made grape juice and bread, so we'll celebrate communion together. We've also been learning some songs together with me playing piano or keyboard. One that's really resonated with us is, "There can be Miracles", originally sung by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston from Prince of Egypt, an animated movie about Moses. That the Jewish Passover festival, that commemorates the sparing of the Israelite people when a deadly plague swept over Egypt, coincides with the middle of lockdown in New Zealand may be purely coincidental, but for me, it helps me stay positive, because it provides a precedent for the situation I find myself and my family in, but in that precedent, it also includes a promise that if we do what we're supposed to, things will get better.
I want to make clear, I don't for a moment think Covid-19 is a punishment from God, but rather a consequence of a variety of human behaviours and and natural phenomena which scientists have been warning for years have been on a collision course. One doesn't have to have a religious belief to recognise that certain human behaviours can have harmful effects on the planet and ourselves. Looking through the often brutal Old Testament, and its multitude of rules and regulations, I can see a common theme in that there is a strong emphasis on survival of a small, tribal people, by ensuring social welfare, governance, safe hygiene and regenerative agriculture in a world where microbes and plant nutrients were not yet understood as we do today through science. Christianity built on that foundation and instead of blindly following over 600 or so laws, made the simple command to love God (and by extension anything attributed to God's handiwork), and your fellow human being. Jesus illustrated what he meant by 'love' with the parable of the good Samaritan, where a total stranger went to great personal expense to save the life of someone who was religiously and ethnically technically an enemy, lest anyone be under the illusion that he was talking about romantic warm fuzzies kind of 'love'. The expression 'going the extra mile', actually comes from another of Jesus' teachings, and a lot of people around the world are doing just that right now in the midst of this global crisis.
It doesn't mention teddy bears anywhere in the Bible, but I think based on Jesus' teaching on loving your neighbour, I think he would have thoroughly approved of all those who have made the effort of putting teddy bears, unicorns, smurfs, and various other critters out to provide an activity to keep children (and I dare say a few adults) entertained during this difficult time. On Saturday, my wife, daughter and I went out for a walk in our bubble, and I took my camera. I've put together a slideshow of some of the critters we found out walking, as way I can share a celebration of how people are looking out for each other.
I think ultimately, there lies the true meaning of Easter, in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, whether you are a believer like myself, or only see the Easter story as a metaphor; not even death itself is capable of destroying the human spirit, if we're prepared to be there for each other. This Easter, every person from police, medical staff, supermarket workers, those putting teddies in their windows, to those simply obeying the rules of the lockdown to name just a few, are all upholding that spirit of looking out for each other, and should all be celebrated.