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Hope springs

  • 10 April 2023
In many nations with a Christian history the most delicious recipes are those designed for Easter. Particularly the sweets. That is understandable. When Lent was a time of fasting, its conclusion at Easter was a time to feast, as Eid still is in Muslim communities celebrating the end of Ramadan. The move from fast to feast among Christians, however, also echoes Jesus’ somber last journey to Jerusalem which ended to the despair of his followers with his tortured death on the cross. This was then upended by their amazed joy when he rose from the dead and appeared to them. 

In a secular society the fast that preceded Easter has disappeared. But Easter remains a time of celebration. Celebrations recognise happy times and happy events, often marking the end of hard times. They also express our hope for the future – that a child baptised will live happily and fruitfully, that a family whose matriarch has just died will continue to stay close. Often these celebrations represent hope against hope.

This year, too, hope may seem elusive. Climate change, the beating of the drums of war around the world and, in Australia, debt, inflation, the lack of consensus about The Voice to Parliament. and the possibility that Easter Bunnies are slave-made, may all suggest a nailed down coffin rather than a tomb found empty and tended by angels. And yet we hope that goodness will triumph over evil, that life will prove stronger than depth, that our nation and world will see that the security of each of us is bound up in the service of one another.

We may also see small signs of thaw amidst the ice of daily news. It seems likely that the Victorian Government will soon raise the age of criminal responsibility, following similar commitments in the ACT and the Northern Territory, so that children who have behaved unsociably will be seen as children and not as criminals. The Referendum, too, has much support in the wider community. 

The message of Easter: that hope can spring up and new life can grow in apparently barren places.




Andrew Hamilton is consulting editor of Eureka Street, and writer at Jesuit Social Services.