Easter Sunday 2020
Jeremiah 31, vv. 1-6, Acts 10, vv. 34-43, Matthew 28, vv. 1-10.
There is no doubt that this year Easter seems very strange. From the moment we were asked to keep inside and avoid normal social contact it was clear that we would have to prepare for an Easter without church. At least I have been able to go into church daily to check that all is well with the building and it has been an opportunity for me to offer prayer for which I feel privileged and grateful. However spending an hour from 2 to 3 o’clock on Good Friday on my own certainly seemed odd.
One thing that struck me was the sense that this year we really have experienced Lent. We have had an enforced period of reflection, a time when we have been unable to worship, at least in church, and time when we have felt deprived and some bereft (perhaps in more ways than one.)
I know that for many the inability to celebrate the Eucharist or to share the sacrament has proved very difficult. My own upbringing and churchmanship has meant that I do not feel this quite so profoundly. But I felt it was important to offer you all a celebration for Easter from our church on my own, as licensed by the bishop. You can find this on the video link on the web page.
Of course we all want to celebrate the joy of Christ’s resurrection, to sing, to cry out alleluia and to share bread and wine. Whether it is right to have this restriction or not is now immaterial and whatever we think it must send an example and help limit contagion, especially in urban areas.
The day of Resurrection is a great mystery but it is not circumscribed or limited by how and when we celebrate the eucharist. Jesus’s own message tells us that his mission was to transform worship, to rethink the law of Moses and give us freedom from sin and death by the boundless mercy of God, and to rebuild the Temple in three days. Of course we have felt frustrated and sad that we cannot gather but the majesty of Christ’s risen presence is around us; in acts of kindness, in community initiatives, in the love of friends and family, in the enormous efforts of medical and hospital staff and in a myriad of other ways.
It will be some time before we can break bread together but today let us remember that the long Lent that culminated in the silence of the tomb on Holy Saturday has been overcome that the tomb is empty and the Lord has gone ahead. It may be too far for us to go to Galilee to see him but look around and do not be afraid.
There is still much to be anxious about and we will all have our trials and worries but if we do feel overwhelmed let remember that the tomb is empty, Alleluia, He is Risen, He is Risen indeed. And as Her Majesty the Queen said – we will meet again in our holy and beloved church. I wish you and blessed and encouraging Easter. Amen.