We don’t exchange chocolate eggs any more. For me, Good Friday begins with a text message to my brothers, reminding them of the same day, circa 1993, when Mum looked out of the kitchen window to find her youngest being hoisted aloft, lashed to a makeshift wooden crucifix on the climbing frame. I wasn’t involved in this particular episode, but I still remember her cry as she burst out into the garden to halt the enthusiastic re-enactment, before the neighbours knocked.
Easter offers us the darker chapters of Christianity that reconcile the spiritual and material, and which speak of mental and physical hardship. The simple messages about the suffering of human existence – and resurrection from despair – endure. And one need not be Christian to believe that accepting human fallibility allows us to be merciful to one another.
I keep an eye out for what the various religious leaders have to say. The Archbishop of Canterbury used his Easter sermon last year to plead for greater public acceptance of human frailty – words that resonate this week as various politicians and bankers are castigated. “Put not your trust in new leaders [or] better systems,” he urged. “They may well be good and necessary, but will to some degree fail. Human sin means pinning hopes on individuals is always a mistake… Setting people or institutions up to heights where they cannot but fail is mere cruelty.”
i will be with you throughout the Easter weekend. Your papers on Saturday and Monday will carry the television schedules, busy sporting programme, a food and drink special, interview with Orlando Bloom, and travel, as well as news and our roster of columnists.