Being in isolation as a close contact for the final week of Term 1 was not part of the plan. Easter and Christmas are two of the biggest events for Chaplains, but here I am, occasionally sneaking out to the letterbox to see what’s going on in the outside world. What I had planned to be part of was the Staff Communion Service with hot cross buns, and the Junior School Easter Assemblies. Now, I have to ask God, what is His plan for me while I’m at home?
In discussing Easter with the Junior School students for the past few weeks, they have spoken of times with family, chocolate eggs and the Easter bunny. A song that we’ve been listening to says, ‘Easter is a time for reflection’. As I reflect on what my plans were for this week and what has become instead, I also reflect on how Jesus’s disciples must have felt in the lead up to and during the events of Easter. A fanfare entry to Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, signifying the King of Peace entering and fulfilling old prophesy. The 12 disciples must have been full of excitement and anticipation of some massive God-ordained moment about to happen. Instead, in the early hours of Good Friday, they were most likely scared, angry and confused. Jesus sentenced to death, their hopes and plans crashing all around them. The time between Good Friday and Easter Sunday nowadays seem so quick, but to them, back then, I can only imagine it seemed unending. What were their plans now? Some locked themselves up in a room out of fear, others left town, seemingly without a plan other than to go fishing.
Jesus does, of course, return to life on Easter Sunday. Surprising the disciples, essentially telling them ‘didn’t you realise this was the plan all along?’, He refocusses them on their role and His expectations for the future. Later on, John (one of the disciples) wrote in his account of Jesus’s life, including the most famous summary of Easter: ‘For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.’ (John 3:16 NLT). John also describes the events of Easter this way: ‘There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’ (John 15:13 NLT).
Easter is about love, sacrifice, inclusion, community, forgiveness and welcome. These are certainly values that I want to share with the Carey community. My plans in the short term have been changed but my hopes and prayers for Carey remain the same. I thank God for a wonderful Term 1 and pray with confidence that He will grant us His favour, protection and peace for the rest of the year. May you have time to reflect this Easter and spend joyful time with those you love.
Junior School Chaplain