Early on that first Easter dawn, Mary went to anoint Jesus’s body and found an empty tomb. In her grief, she walked back through the garden to tell the other friends, and on her way she had an encounter that transformed her life. Jesus was with her again, she began to understand that death is transient and no longer determined our future. This gave those early disciples new strength and courage to face daily danger.

I’m writing this viewpoint three weeks before you read it, and in the time between now and then, the situation in Ukraine and the world will have changed. The news brings us unimaginable scenes of destruction and loss of life, and we are struggling to make any sense of this devastation. But we also learn about awe-inspiring stories of courage, generosity and love – especially love for the stranger. The opening up of places of sanctuary and homes to those fleeing Ukraine is the other story of the war, and one which gives us hope, because we witness the power of our shared humanity and the triumph of love.

Easter is about the triumph of good over evil and love over indifference. Mary’s, and those other disciples’ lives, were transformed when they encountered the risen Jesus. What we witness as Poland and other countries open their borders and provide homes and shelter, is the ongoing triumph of love, and the hope that the revelation of Easter will lead to a new dawn for our world, to scatter the darkness and lead us into the way of peace.

Revd Caroline Halmshaw