An Easter Blessing
At exuberant and colourful Easter Rising commemorations across Belfast, I am struck by how sadness about past loss gives way to future hopes.
There was a song in the air — hardly surprising, perhaps, given the number of poets who led the 1916 Easter Rising. Chief among those men and women of letters was Thomas MacDonagh
, rebel leader at Jacob’s Biscuit Factory who was executed in Kilmainham Jail on 3 May.
His autobiographical On a Poet Patriot reminds us of the unstoppable power of the revolutionary’s dream.
But his songs new souls shall thrill,
The loud harps dumb,
And his deed the echoes fill
When the dawn is come.
I am minded of the British officer who oversaw the executions of the 1916 leaders. “They all died bravely,” he said, “but MacDonagh died like a prince.”
I saw lots of children today with their chocolate eggs, tricolour ribbons and impressive Easter outfits, all living like princes and princesses. An Easter blessing, indeed.
6:30am Easter Sunday: the sun rising over East Belfast
I saw Easter in at the dawn service of the Methodist Church at Skainos
where we recalled another life-changing Rising. Dynamic hub of the East Belfast Mission, Skainos is an exemplar of community building. The centre, of course, is also home to Turas, the pioneering Irish language project founded by Linda Ervine. As she would have it, therefore: Go raibh beannachtaí na Cásca oraibh uilig.