This Easter has been marked for me by the meals I have shared.
On Thursday it was an Agape based on the story told in the Gospel of Mark and the foot washing story in John’s Gospel. I reflected that for me the highlight, or the deepest meaning, of the story is found not in the words and actions around the bread and wine, but the act and teaching about serving through foot washing. We shared the story either side of a fellowship meal,which included each of us washing the hands of our neighbours.
On Friday my family met at Woburn Safari Park and we began with a picnic, before touring the various animal enclosures. What struck me quite strongly was the huge number and amazing variety of people who had also decided to visit the Park that day. There were a large number of Muslims families in particular. On Saturday the family went to Ashridge, for the the National Trust’Cadbury Egg’ Hunt, which turned out to be a wild life trail with a reward, if completed, of a chocolate rabbit! Again we had a picnic as many other families were doing as well. Sunday was marked by a family sharing in a ‘roast dinner’.
This whole weekend was in marked contrast to most of the Easter weekends I have experienced. It was not dominated by Christian rituals, but by family sharing. It has made me think about what Easter is all about. I know the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and this year I have found that the deepest meaning of the story revolves around the example Jesus set of self sacrificial service. It is not the agony on the cross or the miracle of resurrection, neither Friday nor Sunday, but Thursday that holds the best clue to understanding what it is all about.
If every meal is marked by caring for each other, by serving one another, and by sharing together, then every time it will be an occasion of remembering what is of ultimate value in life.