As I write this in early March, the world seems a very dark and threatening place. The plight of Ukraine as the President of Russia tightens his grip is unimaginably awful; those whose homes have been bombed huddle in the darkness and cold of the ruins, unable to escape without being attacked again. Those more fortunate, many of whom walked miles to cross borders into neighbouring countries, have no idea when, how or even if they will ever be able to return. It seems that the forces of evil are very much at work in the world, as Putin threatens Nuclear attack should the Western powers dare to try and stop his military might. We seem to be a people without hope.
Yes there is hope; the thousands across Eastern Europe who have opened their homes to the refugees; the many van drivers from this country who have made repeated journeys to Poland with clothing, food and hygiene articles, all at their own expense; the thousands of pounds donated to charities and the courage of journalists who have risked their lives daily to ensure that the truth is made known and the young woman TV journalist who held up as placard condemning Putin’s actions on live news—and has been sentenced to 15 years in jail.
And hope is at the heart of Easter as celebrate Christ’s overcoming the powers of death, rescuing us from what seemed a hopeless situation..
Rachel Carson, whose book Silent Spring was one of the first to identify the ways in which we are slowly poisoning the planet wrote: Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.
As we watch the horrors of the assault on Ukraine unfold, we have to cling on to that hope.
Our mediaeval churches were built as symbols of hope—towers and spires reaching up to Heaven—and they remain symbols of hope today. To that end we shall be holding our Annual Parochial Church meetings in coming weeks to elect our PCCs and of course, our Vestry Meetings where we elect Church Wardens. You can hear reports of church activities over the past year and have your say about any church matters. So if you are interested come along as follows; Ryhall Sunday April 3rd at 11.30, Carlby 11.30 on Sunday April 24th, Essendine 7.30pm on Thursday April 28th.
Holy Week and Easter services are listed on page 16. If you feel without hope, why not come to an Easter service and find out what joy and hope there is in the Good news of the Resurrection?
As long as a seed remains in the dry, warm, security of the granary it will never reproduce itself. It has to be buried in the cold, dark grave of the soil and there it has to die. Then out of its wintrygrave, the springtime grain will sprout.” (John Stott)
I wish you a hope-filled Easter