by Rev Dr Brian Roberts, Lincolnshire’s Provincial Grand Chaplain
Brethren, Easter is rapidly approaching and yet it only seems five minutes since I wrote to you in Advent at the beginning of December. Who could have imagined then the further restrictions that would be placed upon us or the increased death toll and continued mental and physical toll on the nation’s children and adults?
Our Province has lost a number of brethren and family members and we miss them very much. We are eternally grateful for the example they set and the friendship they gave us. We cannot replace those whom they have loved so dearly and who perhaps in this last year have been lost prematurely, which makes their loss doubly difficult for their family and friends. There are many times brethren that we think of the Masons that we have known since joining the order and who are no longer with us, not just through Covid 19 but through other more natural causes. We do not think of them just with sadness but with a sense of thankfulness at having met them and of having shared good times with them. We may have a warm glow as we think of them, so that our loss is tempered with positivity at having shared times with them. As Masons we are always comforted knowing that our colleagues are resting in peace in the loving care of the Great Architect of the Universe.
The preciousness of life is something we should always try to be mindful of and not take for granted. Life lately has been difficult for everyone, but at the time of writing more and more age groups are being vaccinated and the possibility of looking ahead to a future in which gatherings can take place once more must lift our spirits. We have provisional planning dates to work towards, which hopefully will enable us to arrange a timetable for the resumption of meetings before too long. We have been through an unmatched crisis with its consequences to remain with us for a while yet. The renowned Russian short story writer Anton Chekhov said that any idiot can weather a crisis it’s the day to day living that wears you out. He certainly had a point as this last year has shown!
As Easter approaches through the period of Lent, we reach Palm Sunday which is the Sunday before Easter – it is a day in which we remember Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, an event which is mentioned in all four Gospels. Easter itself is the most important Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus three days after His crucifixion by the Romans. For Christians the 40 days of Lent preceding Easter is a period of fasting and prayer, a period of meditation and going without in many cases, to mirror the suffering of Jesus. The services in churches on Good Friday are sad, reflective moments thinking of the suffering of the Saviour. Contrast this with the joyful Easter Sunday service as it remembers the resurrection of Jesus following His release from the tomb. As well as the happiness of realising that Jesus still lived this must also have been a period of complete bewilderment for the disciples and Jesus’ followers at this momentous event that transcended the usual rules of life and death.
In wishing you all a blessed Easter, I pray for all of you within our Province and your families, that you remain in good health and good spirits, as we look forward to our own Masonic renewal. Finally, let us pray for those less fortunate than ourselves who have found the pandemic unbearable. “Great Architect we ask you to comfort those who are suffering stress in their lives. We ask that you be with them in their darkest moments that they may receive your loving support when they most need it. Graciously give them the reassurance that all is not lost and that the inspiration of Jesus’s survival beyond death which we remember at this Easter time will sustain them through the days ahead. SMIB.”