2020 is the first time in my long life that I have moved into a world where death and resurrection is so much bigger than the ancient words and symbols, cute rabbits and chocolate eggs and togetherness that usually define Holy Week and its culmination, Easter.
For more years than I care to remember on Holy Thursday I would go to the evening Mass and watch as the priest washed the feet of a few chosen parishioners. Then over to another altar where I spent some time trying to focus on a Man who was grieving all that had been and was to come.
In 2020 I watched the evening news and grieved silently with the women and men who have no right to Centrelink payments, who are here alone, and don’t know what to do or where to go until Covid-19 leaves our country.
Good Friday, and once again I’d listen to the Passion story before lining up to kiss the cross. I bought hot cross buns.
This year I shrank at the Covid-19 deaths recorded in Britain (881), Spain (674), the United States (2,043). I watched shrouded bodies being wheeled out of a hospital and stored in a refrigerated van and the could have wept for women and men who died alone, but loved by those they left behind.
And now it’s Saturday – Holy Saturday. Churches are closed, the beaches are empty, families are staying home, the homeless look for safe shelter, and the world waits – for the infection curve to flatten away to nothing, for scientists across the world to break the coronavirus code, for fear and insecurity to loosen its grip. We wait to step into a world that we now know will never be quite the same again. We have experienced death, and we wait for resurrection.
Easter will be late this year. But Easter always comes.