The hours of daylight are at last getting longer. The return of light and of sun was anxiously awaited in early human society and we see signs of this in various ancient pre-historic sites of worship in Ireland and elsewhere in Europe. In fact the name Easter derived from Oestre. The ancient Saxon goddess who represented the sunrise, spring-time and fertility and the renewal of life ..
This Spring- time season also marks the great Christian feast of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The great reality of the Christian Easter is that death is more a passage than an end, because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who suffered an ignominious death rose to an altogether new life.
The journey of life through death to a new and better life, is a familiar pattern in all our lives, but perhaps particularly marked in those who for one reason or another have to flee their homes and countries, leaving all that is loved and familiar behind. Here is one of these stories:
In a forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Aimee and her baby son were held captive with 25 others. After seven days, 13 were taken to be shot – with Aimee last in the line. With her son Daniel in her arms, she saw the terrified men and women killed one by one.
But when it came to her turn, the soldiers lowered their guns. Aimee said: “I was crying. I thought I was going to die with my child. Then I heard them argue about what they would do with my child. For some reason they changed their minds. I don’t know why, only that I am alive today.” Aimee escaped from the Congo, fled to the UK.
A local voluntary service helped her adjust to life in her new home. She also regained contact with her family through the Red Cross international tracing and message services. Finally she was reunited with her children – Daniel, then eight, Rodrigue,15, and 16-year-old Nelly. Aimee said: “When I saw them at the airport it was like being transported to a fantasy world. “I dropped my bag and threw my arms around them. Even then I couldn’t believe it. To see them again was the best thing that has ever happened.”
Aimee knew the terror of facing almost certain death, and finally, the joy of receiving her life back again at a wholly new level. She had (almost) died, and now has truly experienced a Resurrection. Refugees, who have finally found safety, know the meaning of Easter from the inside.
“The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again: ‘Peace be with you.” Jn 20:20
(Story taken from internet site of the British Red Cross).