By Lisa Zengarini
In their Easter message, the two Catholic and Anglican Primates of Ireland have highlighted the true nature of Easter hope given by the Resurrection, pointing out its many signs around us as we experience this difficult time through the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the joint statement, Catholic Archbishop Eamon Martin and Church of Ireland Archbishop John McDowell of Armagh, note that Easter is strongly associated with hope, but not in the sense in which it is often understood in our society today. One of the physical signs of this hope is Spring, which brings “the promise of new life” and happens to fall in the Easter season, at least in the Northern hemisphere.
The resurrection of Jesus brings hope to a new level of reality
“The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead brings that hope to a new level of reality – they write -. Far from the resurrection being simply a metaphor that religious people use for natural renewal, as some believe, it is the yearly renewal of the Earth in Spring which is an anticipation of the resurrection; a sign pointing to something greater than itself”.
Signs of hope even in this difficult time
According to the Irish Primates, God has given many other signs of beauty and joy in the world that arouse our “yearning for eternal fellowship” with Him and “prepare us to find it unexpectedly, in the servant life and death of Jesus Christ”. These signs can be found not only in nature or in music, but also in our human lives, even today, during this difficult time of pandemic, in which Christians and others, “have found ways of making the best of a bad job by helping one another in ways that we haven’t been used to doing before”.
The “hidden service” of many people during the pandemic
The two Archbishops of Armagh further note that this past year has given the opportunity “to show our appreciation and admiration for people who we don’t usually think about”: not “sports people, or billionaires or even politicians”, but “nurses and delivery drivers and people toiling in cavernous warehouses and food factories for very low wages. People – they say – that serve the fundamental needs of God’s world”. “In its own way their hidden service is a shadow of the resurrection life; the life of heaven, God’s place. Our sure and certain hope”, the message concludes.