Wednesday in Holy Week. I can’t decide whether the fact that we are enjoying glorious sunshine helps or hinders the national Covid-19 crisis. Holiday weather – which is what it feels like – is some kind of counterbalance to the awfulness of the worsening national situation. But it also urges us to get out, to be free: and that’s just what we don’t need. Best, perhaps, just to ponder nature, to reflect on its beauty. A native English cherry we planted ten years or so ago is coming into the most abundant flower I can recall. And I’m reminded of that beautiful, poignant poem about the cherry from A E Housman’s ‘A Shropshire Lad’ of 1896: ‘Loveliest of trees, the cherry now/Is hung with bloom along the bough/ And stands about the woodland ride/ Wearing white for Eastertide.’
These are healing words; and today the prophet Isaiah also reminds us of the uplifting power of language: ‘The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.’ Words – poetic and memorable ones – may truly support us in difficult times. So too may stories of heroic living. In the Letter to the Hebrews, the writer invites us to live with perseverance, ‘looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.’ The courage and determination of Jesus as he faced inevitable suffering might also inspire us.
He went this way before us.