The forty days of Easter: 12th April (Easter Day) through 21st May (Ascension Day ) 2020, a series by James Woodward
I don’t know about you but these early days of Covid 19 have been some of the busiest hours I can remember in recent years. Amidst the challenges of lockdown, working with colleagues and trustees to secure and develop our work at Sarum College, keeping in touch with friends and family, a number of things have disturbed and perturbed my human spirit.
Keeping in touch is important and thanks to technology there have been conversations and teaching online, virtual drinks with friends, and regular times of prayer with Cathedral colleagues. However, and whatever platform you are using – Adobe, Zoom, Microsoft or Skype – there persists something very discombobulating about this means of communication. It is disembodied and strangely depleting of our human spirits. At the end of the day while I have been so glad to have maintained the rhythm of work and the tasks to be engaged with, it’s hard not to feel tired and weary. If you add to this the radio and television news which analyses, discusses, predicts and describes the radical change in the way we live as a result of this pandemic it is almost impossible not to feel some measure of fear and anxiety. When will it end, ask ourselves? What might happen if I catch the virus? Are my loved ones at risk? Certainly we have been given plenty of information but I sometimes wonder whether we have too much information…
As we approach Easter which will be marked in a very different way this year on Sunday, 12 April, I am reminded that the liturgical celebration of this season last technically for 40 days ending with the celebration of Ascension Day on 21 May 2020.
So via my Twitter feed I want to open up some part that encourages, guides and uplifts the human spirit. Inspired by this Sarum strapline: Learning to nourish the human spirit – I want to share with you a piece of art that encourages, uplifts and perhaps even guides our human spirit. What we have seen and will continue to see in our communities is many examples of the greatness of human character: people who triumph over adversity and, encourage others and are gracious and welcoming. There are so many who stand up for justice, show kindness and compassion and offer wise counsel.
Each day I will offer a picture and three words which I hope might express something of the Easter message and give voice through colour and texture, perspective and focus to those values and virtues that nourish the human spirit. In the light of the narrative of Easter what might it mean for us to exemplify compassion, wisdom and creativity.
Perhaps art uniquely has the generative power to heal and enlighten. I hope that these images – or at least some of them – might speak to you. I invite you into a journey of discovering how art might help us to live well, to be nourished and to be nourishing!
Find James on Twitter @R_C_Woodward