Fear is like a tenacious icicle hanging from a gable in mid-Winter. The resplendent icicle may appear to be lovely in the Winter rays of the Sun in a niveous landscape, but underneath it damages the roof over time.
The same can be said about fear. Human fear robs the victim of vitality as those dark shadows enrobe the individual or group of individuals in their webbing from which escape is near impossible.
So, it was according to the Gospel of Saint John that the disciples harbored behind closed doors for fear of what was coming: John 20:19. Their Master had been murdered on Friday.
The Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate had the tomb sealed on Friday afternoon after the women had prepared their Master’s body, but more was needed to be done after the Sabbath for the burial ritual. Pilate had posted soldiers to guard the tomb over the Passover Weekend just in case.
Early Sunday morning when the women returned to the tomb to complete the burial ritual, they found no guards and the tomb was opened, but their beloved Master’s body was gone. They went to the disciples to tell them about this sorrowful discovery.
Now later on Sunday a strange tale from Mary Magdalene made them more afraid of the authorities. She claimed that their Master was alive, but their fear was a great canceller of belief, and her story was discounted as hysteria.
Perhaps, we could view this as the first shelter in place of a group of individuals who shared a common bond and belief. They knew not what awaited them outside their locked door, but in the recesses of their clouded minds the harbinger of death was grinning at them with all of its baleful being.
However, their Master did appear to them and fear cannot linger when their hopes and dreams exploded once more. When the sunlight of hope dispels the fear, the day becomes one of renewal.
Malignant COVID-19 has altered the human fabric of life on this planet traversing the cosmos. Easter of 2019 with all of its ebullient celebrations now seems like a distant memory, fading faster with each passing day like those shooting stars we saw as children in the sable sky.
What will be remembered of Easter 2020? Many from 2019 who participated in religious services or that hunt for the cloistered eggs (both real and candied) in the late April verdancy of Spring are no longer here to savor the family and friend times in 2020.
Easter is a time of renewal with sprigs of hope. It is those sprigs of hope which gives life a fighting platform against despondency.
Despondency in the era of COVID-19 is a miasma. Like the Grimpen Mire where the hellhound of the Baskervilles roamed with its night terrors, COVID-19 is a quicksilver bog of misery which defiles the human condition of safety.
The following 1863 poem from Edward William Lewis Davis is a reflection of what we face today on the desolate moors with the fathomless COVID-19:
“The hunter homeward speeds in haste,
Ere fogs o’ertake him on the waste;
And if to Foxtor mires he roam,
He’ll bid a long adieu to home;
A dreary shroud is o’er his head,
A yawning swamp around him spread;
Spell-bound and lost he ventures on
One fatal step – and all is done;
Hopeless he struggles, vain his throes,
Deeper and deeper down he goes !
The raven claps her ebon wing,
His dirge the howling winds may sing,
And mists will spread the last sad pall
O’er that dark grave unknown to all“.
Returning to Easter, Michael Daniel Higgins, President of Ireland, wrote this poem in March as he reflected on COVID-19 and its unsolicited disruptions of human life on a grand scale. It is simply titled—Take Care.
In the journey to the light,
the dark moments
should not threaten.
that you hold steady.
Bend, if you will,
with the wind.
The tree is your teacher,
roots at once
in the soil
Your gentle dew will come
and a stirring
to go on
towards the space
In the misery of the I,
it is easy to cry out
against all others
but to weaken
is to die
in the misery of knowing
the journey abandoned
towards the sharing
of all human hope
is the loss
of all we know
of the divine
for our shared
As you shelter in place for this Easter, what transpires is an experience which you will carry with you when the dark days are passed. Hopefully, in 2021 these 2020 elongated days of uncertainty and fear will be a reminder to live life to the fullest and to thrive as well to remember those family and friends who were taken so viciously by this hellhound.
G. D. Williams © 2020
“I send you Easter greetings wherever you may be, and wish you well in your solidarity, vigilance and tenacity during these difficult times when we are tested like few other times in recent memory… In the shadow of each other we live. May the hope and peace of Easter be with you all.” Michael Daniel Higgins, President of Ireland
“Jesus represents humanity’s victory over the vicissitudes of life and ultimately death. It’s a message of optimism in a time of extreme duress, then and now. It’s saying that good will triumph over sickness, evil will submit to good, sickness will succumb to healing, love will conquer hate, and light will ultimately defeat death. It’s the eternal rhythm of the universe for this to happen.”
Charles Christian Adams, Pastor of the Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, Detroit, Michigan, USA