Vicar's Monthly Letter
Associate Priest's Letter - April
Given the speed things with which are changing in the UK you may well be reading this with far fewer restrictions in place and hopefully a greater degree of freedom. Of course with that freedom comes responsibility and we will undoubtedly still have to continue with many of the current safeguards such as mask wearing and social distancing. However, the reality is that as a country we are embarking upon an enormous reset of our lives. But how will things change? Will we be kinder, more community minded, more environmentally aware? Will we change as individuals or as a society? Will the way we ‘do’ church alter? At the moment we simply don’t know, but one thing is sure that after this year of pandemic, there will be change.
This change seems all the more apt given that we are about to celebrate the Easter season. At this time we celebrate the greatest change and transformation in the history of faith - the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. After the resurrection the world as we know it was changed in ways that are still shaping our lives today. We all respond differently and personally to the Passion of Christ and his resurrection - it provides us with an opportunity to examine ourselves and consider not just our beliefs but our actions and motivation.
The same could also be said about the end of this pandemic, again we can look at our lives and perhaps consider our future aspirations and how we can contribute differently to society.
But this Easter I am aware that many of us will be focussing on returning, eventually, to the simpler pleasures of our lives, pleasures that have been denied to us for a very long time: meeting up with our friends and family, travelling outside of our ‘local’ area, enjoying a meal in our local pub, giving and receiving a hug and returning to our churches. Being denied these for so long offers the chance to enjoy and appreciate them anew Their importance to our souls and wellbeing can help us consider the deeper questions posed by Easter in a new light. The things that bind us and in which we can all share are rooted within our commitment to and communion with God.
And for those of you who are worried about not being able to touch and hug those whom you love, the experience of Mary Magdalene in the garden that first Easter morning has new significance and meaning. And remember at first, the disciples fail to realise the possibility of a new future. The men stay behind closed doors while the women visit the tomb early that morning. It takes some time for them to accept the news the women bring back from the empty tomb. But for the next 40 days, two phrases are repeated constantly by the Risen Christ: ‘Peace be with you!’ and ‘Be not afraid!’ Christ repeats these words over and over again … for, even in the darkest days, there is always hope, and hope that offers new life.
Although this will be a simpler Easter than those in the past, let it be one that we celebrate sincerely and one where we can look to the future with optimism and a determination to make the world a better place.
Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Best wishes and blessings