Saturday, April 11, 2009


Sitting in Johannesburg, I am thinking back to the days when my mum would never buy gasoline from a Shell Station and would never drink South African wine. Her own little family embargo against Apartheid. At that time prisoner 46664 was being held at Robben Island in Cape Town.

After 27 years of captivity, Nelson Mandela was released and went on to become the first Black President of South Africa. He represented the end of the horror of that devastatingly oppressive era. The entire country went from death to life.

I have a nephew that suffered for years with horrible, life sucking, drug addiction. It felt like he was dead. This month he celebrates two years being clean and sober – two years ago, he came back to life.

One day I was driving in my car listening to CBC. A song came on by Stan Rogers, a great maritime singer/songwriter. The song is a story about how a fishing boat named the Mary Ellen Carter sunk in the harbour, and the owners decided it was better left at the bottom and they’d collect the insurance.

But the boat had real meaning to the sailors who crewed her through gales and storms. She deserved life. They decided to raise the boat themselves. The last verse of the song had me in tears such that I had to pull over to the side of the road:

And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow
With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go
Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain
And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

Rise again, rise again - though your heart it be broken
And life about to end
No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend.
Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

I celebrate Easter because death is not the final word. I celebrate because there is the promise of life and life to the full, despite circumstance. I live with easter hope.


  1. This makes me miss Peter Gzowksi, as he introduced me to Stan Rogers. I hadn't heard this song before though....I need this song. I need Easter. I feel like Mary when she complained to Jesus, "Where have You been? If You would have been here Lazarus wouldn't have died. But it is too late now!" And Jesus, as usual, doesn't get side tracked by her rant but cuts right to the heart of the matter. "Mary, do you believe that I can raise the dead?" Easter is my hope.

  2. Where would we be without Easter? Terribly, so terribly, impoverished. No, dead.