Thought for Sunday 19th April

Thought for the day – Sunday 19th April 2020 – Second Sunday of Easter

From Ed Hosken

A journey of ups and downs, and ups again!

Today is sometimes referred to as “low Sunday” possibly because of the comparison with the height of celebration of Easter on the previous Sunday. During these strange times we may well be feeling lower than ever having not been able to celebrate Easter as we would have liked. It is inevitable that we have highs and lows in life as it is simply a matter of comparison. It is very difficult to sustain a constant high and so by comparison other days are unavoidably lower even if in reality they are simply normal. But what is normal? We have come to accept a new normal in our social distancing and must also face the fact that “normal” changes throughout our lifetime. Of course we also have “lows” that are lower than “normal” which we may find difficult to climb out of.

Just as we have highs and lows in our lives, we have highs and lows in our faith. The two are often inextricably linked. During times when we are spiritually low it is usually helpful to aim for a level of spiritual normality that has helped us persevere in the past, rather than a height of spiritual joy that may seem unachievable.

Although not in the lectionary for this year, a common reading for this Sunday is Luke 24:13-35, the account of two of Jesus’s disciples walking to Emmaus on Easter Sunday. We are told (v17) that had “downcast” faces when Jesus (unrecognisable to them) approached and asked what they were discussing. Was this downcast attitude because their confusion about the events of the day or astonishment that this apparent stranger had not heard about the recent events? In verse 21 we are told that they had “hoped that he [Jesus] was the one who was going to redeem Israel”, so we get a sense that they were disappointed. They are also “amazed” by what the women reported after visiting the tomb, but clearly they do not understand. From the admonishment from Jesus “how foolish you are” (v25) they must also have felt a lack of confidence in their scriptures.

As we may also be downcast with disappointment, and confusion about the impact of the corona virus, or maybe lack understanding or confidence in our faith, we can take heart from the culmination of the road to Emmaus story when the disciples realise that Jesus had been with them all the time (v31). Whatever our situation let us have confidence in the risen Christ who continues to journey with us to make God’s purposes clear. Even when we don’t experience the “high” of feeling the closeness of Jesus, we can rely on knowing that it is normal for him to be travelling with us.

Edward Hosken