Kia Ora, Bula Vinaka, Malo e lelei, Talofa Lava… hello.
It has been fantastic connecting with so many of you on Messenger over the last few days. For those of you who I haven’t connected with (so far), I hope that you are keeping well in these unusual days. If we haven’t connected, please feel free to PM me if you would like to say hi.
As we are well into our second week of lockdown and heading into Easter weekend, I thought I’d post this follow up message, especially for you die-hard Easter Camp fans out there. As you will know by now, every Easter Camp throughout Aotearoa New Zealand has been cancelled because of COVID-19. That’s the sad news. However, the good news is that each of the Easter Camps throughout the country will be posting online. Some of the camps are interactive. Some are making new content for this year, while others are posting highlights from previous years. Awesome! Each camp is running a slightly different timetable on this, but you can check out the information for your local camp on the relevant Facebook page. For all you die-hard Easter Camp fans, it could be an opportunity to check out all of the camps across the country, and for our Island friends who don’t normally see Easter Camp, these could be well worth hooking into.
In addition to this, I would like to share a brief thought around Easter in lockdown:
As we know, COVID-19 is impacting so many aspects of our lives. For many of us it might be the first time that we will not go to an Easter Camp, or it might be the first Easter we spend away from our family and friends. So, during this time it is important not only to stay in our bubble, but also to reach out to wider friends and family—preferably over the internet. It is also important for us to do the small things that keep us well and in a good frame of mind.
At the moment, the natural response to COVID-19 is one of fear—fear of isolation and loneliness. There is the fear that our loved ones might get sick. There is, for some, the fear of death and all of the questions that come as we face our own mortality. However, the cool thing about Easter is that it encourages us to find hope. The Easter story is all about overcoming darkness and despair.
In the Gospels we see that, for the disciples, the knowledge and sight of the crucifixion initially brought a sudden stop to all of the hope and promise in their lives. All they could see was darkness and despair. However, Jesus rose from the grave! In the days following the resurrection he challenged his disciples anew to examine their relationship with him. His presence with his disciples then, as it is with us now, illuminated the surrounding darkness and reinstated his commitment to be with us as he renewed his invitation for us to follow him.
So, this Easter I am taking up a challenge. Over Easter I am going to re-read the book of Mark in the New Testament, and I would like you to join me in this challenge. Why Mark? Easy. It is the shortest of the Gospels and it ends with Jesus rising from the darkness and smashing all fear! If you do this and would like to ask any questions or share any thoughts, please feel free to PM me.
Have a great Easter.
Be kind to one another. Stay safe. Stay home and save the world.