The picture shows one of the apple trees in the orchard at the Community of the Resurrection in Yorkshire. I took it early one April morning when some of the leaves were so new they were shining. Today we remember and will pray for the community of brothers. Some of you met brother Marc who had planned to be with us for Holy Week, but circumstances did not allow it. The apple blossom is not only beautiful and scented- it also bears the promise of apples. To mediaeval theologians the apple tree was a symbol of the resurrection. The bare cross on which Christ hung is transformed through the miracle of the resurrection into a tree of beauty, joy and fruitfulness.
In the last few weeks I have heard several Christians say, ‘Easter will be late this year, but it will come.’ They meant, I think, that we should hold back our Easter celebrations until people are no longer sickening and dying of corona virus, and we no longer need to stay in seclusion away from each other.
No! This is the time to rejoice.
The resurrection came at the darkest moment of history into the blackest of political situations at a time when our spiritual ancestors, the first Christians, were in despair at the death or Our Lord and their own complicity in it. That was the context into which the glory of the resurrection shone. The disciples heard of it as they hid in an upper room with the doors locked for fear of enemies. Since then - since the triumph of eternal life over death and of God’s power over our sin and failure, we who are people of faith are also resurrection people. We have all of us been re-made through baptism, and nothing, neither disease nor isolation nor death itself can separate us from the love of Christ. So even as we live with the pain and distress of those who suffer, and our own difficulties and losses, we rejoice in the triumph over death which the resurrection demonstrates.
Alleluia Christ in risen,
He is risen indeed, Alleluia!