Anglicans Online banner More about the gryphon
Independent On the web since 1994 More than 200 000 readers More than 10 000 links Updated every Sunday

New This Week
Everything new is here.

News Centre
News archive
News flash: a summary of the top headlines
Start here
Anglicans believe . . .
The Prayer Book
The Bible

Read letters to AO
Write to us

Resources A to Z

World Anglicanism
Anglican Communion
In full communion
Not in the Communion

Dioceses and Parishes
New Zealand

Vacancies Centre
List a vacancy
Check openings worldwide

Add a site or link to AO
Add a site to AO
Link to AO

About Anglicans Online
Back issues
Awards and publicity
Beginnings, AO today
About our logo

Support AO
Shop for AO goods
Help support us!
Thanks to our friends

Our search engine


Hallo again to all.

Eastertide should be a time of undiluted joy and bubbling gaiety, but the news in the world has been bleak these last weeks. Of course there are the personal joys in our own lives — love, friendship, generosity — as well as the personal sorrows of illness and death, but at present these all seem to play out against a global stage whose backdrop is an ugly canvas of greys, browns, and blacks, with angry streaks of blood red.

During these rough periods, we find that we can cling intellectually and abstractly to the knowledge that Our Lord has conquered all that sin and death can do in human life — but it's sometimes hard to feel it. The global bleakness is numbing. The emotional buoyancy of Easter day has faded along with the lilies. The alleluias, whose return after their Lenten absence is a sort of spiritual caffeine, are now part of our worship: beautiful, but expected. There has been for us no liturgical 'high' to carry us blithely above the awfulness of the world's news, so we've done our best to 'hang on to love', as a priest once confessed to a friend was all he could do at a very difficult time in his life.

So as we suspect many of you are, we're hanging on to love and trying to skirt the dangers of sloth and despair; greater sins than anything sexual (much as many seem to think otherwise). We find that occasional dips into history help: we realise that other times have been as bad as ours, often worse: and indeed much of the history of human life has been nasty, brutish and short. If love, achievement, heroism, and goodness could flourish in those times, well, surely we can manage as much in our ours. In centuries past, faith was tested with war, disease, famine, and climate. In our era, those threats are much diminished, but our faith is tested with a surfeit of information. Evil halfway around the world only tests the faith of those who know about it. We are burdened with global knowledge, and, as with the apple in Eden, we can never go back.

The adage that it is easy for a flower to bloom in a meadow, far harder to bloom amidst rocks carries much truth. To be faithful can be a simple and undemanding act in the good times; say, in the midst of an Easter eucharist. We may be better companions of our Lord if we can be faithful living in the midst of a stony, rock-strewn world, where the darkness — if ultimately conquered — still gives love a rough time.

So whistling in the dark these days, for the remainder of this Eastertide we'll do our level best to keep the faith. To rejoice still and always. To heed the good counsel given by a bishop a few years ago: Eat, drink and be merry — and then get out there and change the world.

See you next week.

Cynthia McFarland's signature
Brian Reid's signature
Cynthia McFarland
Brian Reid

Last updated: 9 May 2004

A thin blue line
This web site is independent. It is not official in any way. Our editorial staff is private and unaffiliated. Please contact about information on this page. ©2004 Society of Archbishop Justus