On Good Friday, the faithful walk into their local churches, heads bowed. Before them stands a sanctuary empty of the Body of Christ: it's a space of shadowy reflection; a time of sorrow; a time for remembering holy sacrifices of days gone by. A time when many confess the sins that have been committed.
It's also a time for remembering that soon, the sorrowful days will be swept away by the Winds of Ressurection: that following confession comes forgiveness. And with that, light finally intrudes upon a season of Lenten darkness.
In contemporary Ireland, we have so much to forgive!
- We have an economy in shambles. More young skilled workers are emigrating to Canada and Australia than at any other time in the last 30 years. And while the country is being bled dry of its most important asset - its people - Irish politicians play with their worry beads as they seek to prop up the country with billions of euro in borrowings. "Surely," people think, "they understand that this will bankrupt generations to come." Unlikely, I'm sure.
- The Church, with its crimes of sexual abuse, cover-ups, and denials has worked to blow out the flickering lights of faith, trust, and spirituality. Within this vacuum, Irish people attempt to look for hope, recognising that an institution and way of life is dying before their eyes.
- The public sector, with their eyes locked on money, failing to see that those in the private sector are suffering the same deprivation. Yet allowing strikes and discontent to disenfranchise the very people that they are supposed to serve.
And yet, hope there is.
Ireland and her people have overcome challenges over generations. Their stout hearts and strength of character will overcome. And with Christ as a loving example, the Irish will forgive - and move on - into a time of Ressurection.
Despite the crazies who would stop them.