I would like to share, as our pastoral letter, this reflection from Cathy Goodwin. I think her words are powerful and timely as we prepare for Holy Week. We only get to Easter by facing the reality of Good Friday. In the last year as we have faced the pain of the cross what new birth of Easter has come from it? We sometimes use the language of a new normal; there is no going back. How have we changed as individuals and a church? As we are coming closer to the end of Lent, let’s together embrace the cross with the certain hope that there will be Easter rebirth and become a community renewed and revitalized and forever changed for the better by the pandemic we have experienced; more ready to rebuild a world of compassion and love.
Acknowledging rupture during Lent and a global pandemic
Our beautiful new St Agnes Church is mostly empty; our warm supportive community stays mostly isolated at home and with the same distress of other communities everywhere. Pandemic time during Lent is much more somber than our ability to articulate. Communities suffer. Timeframes get warped by ongoing uncertainties.
Yet, Fr Andy was able to reach into last Sunday’s readings for a powerful reflection on the cracks of our brokenness and the ruptures that allow light to break through and dispel the layers of darkness. Our sacred spaces take on new meaning and our spirits breathe new life out of the ashes of yesterdays. Healing and restoration open the way towards amazing discernment.
Almost a year ago, one of the most insightful writers of our time captured the possibilities before all of us in these words: “Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to ‘normality’, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists.
And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.
We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.” (An excerpt from Arundhati Roy in the Financial Times, April 3, 2020.)
Imagine a new world where compassion structures relationships with greater justice, where truth dispels fake news together with their fake histories, where all living things are re-discovered with the goodness they carry from their Creator, and where the well-being of all from the least to the greatest is fostered through kindness and mercy . . . Laudate Sí!