You might be thinking that Easter is long past, but for many Christian churches, including St. John the Divine, that little Anglican church behind the London Drugs, Easter is still going strong. For us, Easter is an entire season, lasting 50 days. Does this legitimize the continued consumption of chocolate bunnies and coloured eggs? I’ll leave that up to you.
Easter is the holiest time in our church’s year and a time for celebration. Especially on the first Sunday of Easter, extra guests usually swell our weekly gathering, and we mark the time with special music, food, and decorations.
While we have been uploading weekly services and sermons to YouTube, this year has just not been the same. Easter has ended up looking quite different than what we are used to. I have been grieving this unexpected reality more than I thought I would. I am sure that I am not alone in this, but in the same boat as many of you, who have been grieving your own cancelled, or drastically altered celebrations, holidays, and events.
One of the sources of comfort, encouragement, and strength for me this year has been stories. This year, particularly as I hear the familiar and sacred stories for Easter, I find myself being affected by them in new ways. It has hit me that in most of these Easter stories, the characters are anxious, alone, grieving, and afraid. There seem to be more tears than I remember at Easters past. I see myself in these narratives and am reminded of the validity of my anxiety and grief.
I am also noticing this year in these Easter stories, the transformative effect that a story can have. The characters, alone and afraid, are brought good news — a new story — that shines a light into their darkness, that plants a seed of joy and hope in their hearts.
Stories can be powerful like that.
What are the stories that have been letting you feel how you feel? What are the stories that have planted seeds of joy and hope in your heart? Are you finding them from your online-streaming service of choice, or your spiritual tradition, or your friends, family, and neighbours?
I hope that you are finding those stories that are speaking to you and embracing them. I hope you are sharing those stories. We are in a time for telling stories.
Happy spring, Squamish. Happy Easter.
Rev. Cameron Gutjahr