HOPE and despair. Power and weakness. Joy and sorrow. Life and death. These are the strange opposites that make up the Easter story.
From the excitement and joy with which the crowds welcome Jesus to Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday, through the dereliction and abandonment of the Cross on Good Friday to the mysterious and alluring experience of Jesus being raised from the dead, Easter is full of contradictions, of ambiguities, of uncertainties.
This should not come as a surprise. Most of us live with ambiguity, with the stress of trying to live good and productive lives, while at the same time being aware of our limitations and inadequacies.
For most of us, hope and despair, joy and sorrow, life and death are very close. While we like to believe that we are in control in our world, it only takes a freak road accident, a diagnosis of cancer, or an unexpected broken heart, for us to know how fragile is our hold on life.
Christians believe that at the first Easter, God gave Jesus new life, raised him from death, so that we might see and begin to understand that nothing in life or death, in the past the present or the future , nothing at all can separate us from the love of God or from the God of love.
We can trust the way of Jesus, because he has already gone before us. Or as the poet GM Hopkins puts it, after Easter: “I am all at once what Christ is, because he was what I am.”
May we all know the confidence and joy that comes from God this Easter and always.