As I write this reflection the news is full of the latest terror attacks in Brussels … suicide bomb blasts at the International airport and another on a metro train. People who were eyewitnesses have reported the horror, and footage from security cameras has been shared via the media.
There are reports of heightened security, people told to stay indoors, while many venture out in defiance of the terrorists. People from across the nations are offering support and condolences. Some react with sorrow, others with anger. There are leaders who call for calm and other, would be leaders, (such as Donald Trump) angrily calling for torture of terror suspects. Shock waves have been felt across the world.
At times of grief, shock and fear we are all caught off guard and react in different ways. Some huddle in quiet corners trying to come to terms with events, while others are moved to take action… preparing food for the bereaved, making funeral arrangements, feeling the need to prepare the body for final burial or drawn back to the graveside or perhaps the place of death. Still others seek means of revenge. The same is true today as then.
In the light of the Brussels terror attacks, how do we hold on to hope? Where can we find meaning? Where is God? Surely, it seems that in Christ God is with all those who suffer at the hands of these violent terrorists. Yet, even from the cross Christ asked of God “forgive them, for they know not what they do!”
There were eyewitness to the events surrounding Good Friday and Easter. It is said an apostle is one who bears witness to the risen Jesus. Much is made (by recent scholars) of the fact that, as it was the women who first discovered the empty tomb and concluded that Jesus had risen… the women in Luke’s gospel are the church’s first apostles.
Further, Luke reports that the others receive the words of the women as an “idle tale.” Was this because they suspected the credibility of women? Or is it because of the incredible nature of the news? As a woman I am glad that it seems some women were the first to “see” and understand that Jesus had risen but I believe that this isn’t about the gender of those involved, so much as about our own individual perceptions and reactions. Every gospel writer records disbelief in the wake of Easter. It is an incredible story!
Every year we retell the Easter story, going over the facts from various points of view, not to remember old details, but to gain new insights and fresh perspectives. . It is still a challenge to look death in the face and trust “Jesus is risen”… and take hold of that truth for ourselves, once again. We place ourselves in the story and experience the grief, disbelief and wonder anew.
As Susan McCaslin, Arousing the Spirit: Provocative Writings, writes;
“Let the hinges of our hearts swing open
To things we can’t explain –
…Help us experience daily the astonishing in the apparently ordinary”
Easter Blessings on you all.