For over a month now we have all shared the very strange experience of lockdown. This has meant staying at home and curbing our natural inclination to mix in a social setting.
It has been odd to say the least and, for some, it has proved to be a great challenge and a time of real frustration, worry and anxiety.
The Church, in common with so many other parts of life and culture, has had to change and adapt to this unique situation of crisis. Our fundamental pattern of gathering around the Eucharist as a community has had to cease for the time being and our liturgies and sermons have, instead, been made available via television, radio, and the internet.
Since the last magazine the Church throughout the world has celebrated what must be one of the strangest Easters ever. No public drama of Holy Week leading towards great congregations of Christians joyfully singing of our resurrection hope in the Risen Lord. Instead we continued to stay at home and to stay safe.
The result of this for me has been to recognise that the Easter we have just celebrated is probably the closest we have ever had to that first Eastertide. Then, as now, folk stayed at home. Then, as now, good news broken out gradually and in small quiet ways.
Perhaps like me, you have found yourself more receptive to the new life springing forth in the natural world; of hearing more birdsong than usual; of gazing in wonder at the shafts of bright fresh green growth appearing in the trees and hedgerows.
Christ is Risen! This is a truth we, as Church, continue to proclaim and to celebrate in these 50 days. Even in the midst of lives changed so much by this pandemic, we continue to be an Easter people; a people of faith in a new future – a future that is in the hands of the God who made us and who, in love, has redeemed us.
Yours in the faith,