by Andy Jowitt
It has been a little over three years of regular visits and volunteering sessions at Foxearth Meadows. I’d told other visitors, that, yes, otters have been seen on the reserve, but you’d have to be very lucky to have a sighting, and I’d never been lucky yet!
Then on Good Friday morning, I went to unlock the car-park and took a wander down the riverside path. My attention was drawn by noise in the water and I took a deep breath as I found myself counting three otters swimming, diving and somersaulting over each other. From conversations about sightings elsewhere on the river, I ‘m sure they were a mother and two of last year’s young. Eventually the mother appeared to realize my presence, snorted, gathered the others and disappeared with them into the reed debris and overhanging blackthorn on the other bank.
I found myself musing on the day (Good Friday) itself. Over three years the disciples heard about things they were yet to see and yet to understand. Then over the first Good Friday and Easter it happened for real; it wasn’t just words. It was their lived experience. And they became witnesses of Jesus, the first fruit of the resurrection. They had good news to share.
Years ago I went with my wife and little daughter to the Otter Trust at Bungay on the other side of Suffolk. We enjoyed it so much I was a bit sad to learn some years later that it was closed and gone. But I had to accept that the fundamental reason for the closure was good news. The centre was no longer needed; otters were now successfully back in the wild. A kind of resurrection.
When Paul writes in his letter to the Romans about the hope we have through Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection, he includes all creation being liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into freedom and glory. My Good Friday morning experience was for me a hopeful sign. We are called to share good news and to be good news, and this is for all of God’s creation. We have sadly had a huge part to play in creation’s bondage to decay. By God’s grace we can have a part to play in its liberation and redemption.