Soon we should be preparing for the greatest of the Christian festivals: Easter, the celebration of Our Lord’s resurrection. We should be entering a time of joyous celebration with our families and friends and enjoying the beginning of spring. Yet we find ourselves in a situation never before experienced in our lifetime, which demands we separate ourselves from those we love, our families and friends, and are unable to meet even as the family of God.
We find ourselves in a situation which is frustrating, cutting us off from our life of worship, our social life and our families. For many it is a time of fear, as we contemplate the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the world and in our own localities. For some it has brought food shortage and financial difficulties, and has exacerbated feelings of loneliness or impacted on mental wellbeing. We will get through this terrible time but the world will be changed by it.
While the churches may not be open, the liturgy and the great festivals are still being celebrated. The Eucharist is still celebrated at St Oswald’s every week and on Palm Sunday I blessed palm crosses to distribute to as many of you as possible. While we may not meet together we can still pray together and it would be good if we all set aside Sunday mornings to unite in prayer as the Eucharist is celebrated.
Easter Sunday will be celebrated, though in a way we have never celebrated before. It will be an opportunity to remember that the resurrection is not simply an historic event to be remembered, nor is it simply an event we share in at our death. Everyday is a personal resurrection, an opportunity to die to our old ways and seek a new way to live as disciples of Christ. This change is desperately needed now when true care, compassion and lack of selfishness is needed to see us through. Many examples of true heroism can be seen in those working in essential services, and care and compassion can be seen in the actions of ordinary people in our local communities.
When the effects of this pandemic subside and life begins to return to normal, we will be changed by the experience and we pray that the change will see a more compassionate and selfless world community. Meanwhile remember, though we are not meeting, stay in touch by phone, pray together as a family and call me or Matthew if you need anything.
May the resurrection of Christ and His promise to us strengthen us in this difficult time and fill us with His compassion and love for all of His creation.