Before and After

A reflection for the Easter season

empty tombThe news over Holy Week and Easter was dominated by two devastating events: the fire at the Notre Dame and the horrendous Easter Day shootings in Sri Lanka. Now, at the beginning of May, both these events seem to have disappeared almost completely from the news headlines. On one level, this is understandable, as there is not much more news to report. However, it also makes us realise how quickly major events disappear to the background, unless we ourselves have been personally afflicted. Particularly when tragic events involve a loss of life, the lives of those who are left are changed forever, but for many others life carries on as before.

With that in mind, I wonder which are the events that have changed our lives, and how? The London marathon at the end of April is a great testimony to one way in which people’s lives can be changed: seeing the suffering of others in the news, or indeed having experienced suffering much closer to home, many commit themselves to raising money and awareness for a particular cause. Christian Aid, the charity of this month, is one of those organisations which shares the stories of people and thereby has the potential to change lives forever.

This brings us back to the Easter story. Many of us will have marked Lent and Easter in some way: by fasting and prayer, by entering into the events of Holy Week and celebrating the Resurrection on Easter morning. But how has it changed us? The Crucifixion and the empty tomb changed the lives of those who realised what had happened: Mary, Peter, Thomas and the many other followers of Jesus. It changed the course of history, as Christianity became one of the major world religions. But how has it changed us, how has it changed you and me?

It is worth thinking about this question. Not necessarily in a historical or theological way, reflecting on the sacrifice that Christ made to atone for the sins of the world, but really asking ourselves: how has hearing the news of the Resurrection changed me? Was it an event as so many others, having our full attention for a while, maybe encouraging us to do something once or for a while, but then disappearing to the background? Or has it changed our lives forever?

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