Letter from Interim our Moderator April 2023
To members and all living within the bounds of the parish of Crail and St Ayle.
If Winter comes, can spring be far behind?
I recall that Ode to the West Wind by Percy B Shelly was the only poem of is liked by one of my English teachers. She focused on the closing line which held the message of hope: 'If winter comes, can spring be far behind?'
We all welcome the signs of spring which surround us here. Buds on bare branches of bushes; snow and rain replaced by sunshine; grey skies fading as clear blue cloudless light surrounds us. Days longer and nights shorter. Daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, snowdrops, and green leaves emerging on the trees, bringing colour and hope of new life.
In the Northern hemisphere it is easy to see how Easter is associated with new life. Easter can come along as early as 25 March and as late as the end of April. The date of Easter is not fixed like Christmas. It is disruptive and unable to be predicted by most people who are unfamiliar with the lunar calendar. Easter was identified early on with a spring festival having roots in Judaism and Passover and strong associations with the Exodus. Now Easter has been overlaid with chocolate, rabbits, and all sorts of remnants of a variety of religious traditions.
Easter, however, in the Southern hemisphere, in places like Australia, comes in the midst of autumn and the approach of winter and the reverse of newness of life. It is often the time of trees losing leaves, bushfires, floods and destructive cyclones. Perhaps this is an important reminder. The message of Easter, the love of God for us vividly and inescapably offered in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus, comes in the midst of darkness and danger. It offers hope in the most dismal of circumstances when people long for heat, light and hope.
Challenges surround us in this springtime, just as they existed in the winter. The war dragging on in Ukraine; the cost-of-living crisis impacting on so many who are vulnerable; political wrangling; general uncertainty after Covid, with the long term consequences on health of the lockdown and pandemic restrictions only now becoming so apparent.
It is far too easy to become stuck and depressed, lacking hope and positive attitudes. We can become marooned in winter. It is easy to forget the signs of life and hope active among us. The development of a lunch club, the support of "Messy Church", the return of more and more normal activities in the Church and community after Covid. All of these suggest life and hope.
We have to be realistic and honest. There are no quick fixes available to make our lives comfortable and free from worries and problems. Hope for those who have a Christian faith cannot be saccharine or cosmetic, dismissing or ignoring the horror and suffering of the world and in our community. It means engaging with the pain and difficulties and offering what skills, attitudes and time which we have to make the world a better place. The message of Easter is in our hands and we are entrusted to share it as the followers of Jesus. Hope and new life is available and awaits us.
May Easter and its message of hope give you encouragement and strength in the days ahead.
Nigel J Robb ( Revd )
Interim Moderator of Crail linked with St Ayle