Lent has raced to a finish and we now stand in the light of Easter, officially. But given the prevailing mood, it appears that the symbol we have chosen for these days is the Good Friday bobolee, the scapegoat onto whom we unload the collective anger, impotence and frustration that we experience as a nation where nothing works, nothing is going right and we see no way out. So a violent venting of emotion is our safety valve.
Those among us who are too restrained to beat the bobolee focus instead on the stone that inhibits our efforts; we want to do some good actions but there are insurmountable obstacles—lack of funds, of amenities, of transportation, of safety, so we wonder “Who will roll away the stone?” as we wait for a saviour to redeem us.
Both these attitudes—violent venting or helpless lamentation—prevent us from seeing that the stone has been rolled away, that the graves we waste time revisiting are empty, the Saviour is out and active in the new Sunday morning light.
Historically, we have not been a people who wait for external saviours. Leaders and healers and teachers have emerged from the crucible of suffering and servitude to forge a people who know their worth, who are resilient and resourceful and whose strength comes from the discipline of community and service.
We have chosen to forget that heritage and to assume a position of dependency and complaining, demanding that ‘they’ provide for us all the goods to which we lay claim. Or else, we fall back on rote responses to the new situations which life presents us, and much like the well-meaning women, set out for the tomb with embalming spices to preserve what or who is no longer there.
The effort of creative imagining which will open new pathways to making sense of the new world is seen as too demanding, too frightening, too uncertain to entertain, so we settle for the time worn and obsolete.
The risk of this is that we ourselves become obsolete, failing to hand on the precious legacy of Faith and the heritage that has defined and shaped us.
This Easter, as we contemplate the reality of our societies in the light of the perennial reality of the Paschal Mystery, we must be open to the challenge of moving on that is addressed to us.
The story always ends with an invitation to choose the dimly lit road of Faith and to set out on a journey, or to hide behind a myth facilitated by a bribe—not resurrection just disappearance, not a challenge to a new way of seeing the world but a comfortable repetition of the well-worn ways of corruption and deceit.
Take your pick!