You remain in my prayers and thoughts as I recognise the life changing circumstances many of you find yourselves in. Some of you need to find space to work in the place that may usually be sanctuary from work. Some of you are trying to encourage your children to learn in a place where they would normally play. Some of you may be trying to feed a family with limited resources. Some of you may be struggling with your own or a member of your family’s mental ill health, and the places that may normally offer refuge, support or even distraction are not available. I want to add my personal thanks to all of you who are trying to remain connected, who are taking that call to be Jesus’ hands and feet so literally to your neighbours, and who are being so encouraging in the feedback you’re giving at the way we are trying to be church together.
For many, Easter is the main festival as Christians, and as the church, we come together through the lament of Lent, the pause and reflection of Holy Week, and then the bright new dawn of the resurrection truth at Easter. Those spaces we occupy together: lament, pause, reflection and joy have a different shape this year. As many are commenting, in many ways we are returning to the foundation spaces of Christ’s church, being church in our homes, with our households, where two or three are gathering, and with the added dimension of the digital connection, we can spiritually connect even if you live alone.
It’s not the same, but it’s still Easter. When Mary sat weeping at the entrance to the tomb, Jesus asked her two questions: “why are you weeping?” and “what are you looking for?”. I wonder if these questions come even more sharply into focus this year. We may only know a deep ache that we can’t yet articulate, when we think about not being able to gather at the foot of the cross. We may feel a pain that we can’t quite put our finger on at the prospect of not celebrating the first Eucharist of Easter. As I heard recently said: ‘thank goodness Easter was never about filling a building, but always about emptying a grave.”. It’s not the same, but it’s still Easter. Perhaps those two questions that Jesus posed to Mary are for us as well. We will always remember this Easter. And we can look forward from here to a time when our spaces will be used differently again, when we will meet, devote ourselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, break bread, pray and praise God.
Until then, wherever and however you are, I pray you will know the resurrection joy of the empty grave, that Jesus is alive, that nothing can separate us from the love of God, or from each other in that love.
Rev Becky Waring
St Martins Knowle
Area Dean Bristol South