Easter is the major Christian celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ; a day on which we celebrate the good news that Christ conquered death.
Just before Easter that we had the news of the fire which has severely damaged the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. As I listened to the news and saw the pictures of people standing nearby singing and praying, my thoughts turned to the people who would have expected to worship at the cathedral during Holy Week and Good Friday, then celebrate there on Easter Day. The community which would usually have come together for that time would now be dispersed to other churches and find themselves joining different communities as visitors.
On Easter Day, as we were in the midst of our celebrations, came the news of the attacks on the churches and hotels in Sri Lanka which killed 290 people and wounded nearly 500. Worshippers in the churches were celebrating new life when their lives came to an end. The individual, personal loss was devastating. The loss to the community was enormous; they have lost the building which formed the physical centre of the community and the community of people has been fractured because of the loss of life.
Any community consists of people who live, work, play or worship together. That community needs a place in which to come together. When the members of the community are lost for any reason, the community mourns. If the gathering place is lost, the community searches for somewhere else, and may be dispersed.
For the Christians in Paris and in Sri Lanka, they are part of a much wider community centred on Christ. Their loss has come at a time when the worldwide Christian community comes together to commemorate new life, new beginnings. May the members of those suffering communities find a welcome in other parts of the global community and find strength in the good news that Christ conquered death.