Easter Sunday. In the Christian calendar, the day of hope, rebirth, resurrection. Even if you don’t subscribe to the story, this time of year, in our northern location, is a time of renewal. The four day break, the school holidays, give us a pause for breath after the rigours of winter and a chance to regroup before the challenges ahead – big ones for young people especially, as the exam season looms.
After going to church this morning, we headed up to the centre of Ealing for a family lunch. Walpole Park was vibrant. Kids playing on the climbing frames, birds whistling in the trees and the buds of spring beginning to break through on the trees. Cherry blossom, a few daffodils poking through (or hanging on – have they been and gone?). The sun bursting through the clouds – just a hint that it might soon get warmer. All around, signs of life, renewal.
Later I was walking through Boston Manor Park, after an unsuccessful visit to a computer store on the A4 – it was shut! – and I reflected further on the theme of renewal. Inevitably I asked myself what song best reflected this sense of rebirth, of hope.
I felt like it was going to be something by Bruce Springsteen. Songs about redemption, rising above adversity, are his staples after all. And yes, the song I chose was “The Rising”, from the album of the same name. That album was widely seen as Bruce’s response to the 9/11 tragedy. His summary of America’s mood. There was little explicitly referring to the attack; it was more about the aftermath, the effect on people’s lives. The loneliness, emptiness, anger. And the regrouping, the hope. “The Rising” came late in the album and felt like that moment of resurrection, even though the lyrics are still dark.
It’s an uplifting song, especially if you have been listening to the album all the way through. Just as with Jesus’s story, hope emerges from the darkest of times.
The clocks went forward last weekend; the days grow longer. Nature emerges from its winter retreat. Easter gives us perspective and energy. Bruce, as ever, gives us inspiration.