As I write this message I have had three weeks of settling into my role as Interim Priest in Charge at St Andrew’s. I have been delighted by the strong sense of community and belonging amongst the members of the St Andrew’s church congregation, especially when the difficulties of 2020 are considered. We continue to live under a national lockdown with “stay at home” rules still in force and businesses and most establishments remaining closed.
Meanwhile, zoom services and meetings and socially distanced conversations make for unusual ways of encountering one another and engaging with community in lockdown. However there are positive signs of hope for an end to restrictions in recent reports showing consistent decline of coronavirus numbers and progressive plans to ease restrictions.
We are still in the season of Lent, a period which runs through to Good Friday, during which many Christians recall the forty days when Jesus was tempted in the desert. And beyond that of course we look forward to the most important day of celebration in the Christian calendar – Easter’s Resurrection Sunday. It’s possible to come up with many explanations as to why this is so important but I’d like to highlight just one of them.
This is that, by his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ ensured salvation for all who believe in him. The scripture says in John 3.16 that ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life’.
The Resurrection was crucial in this gift to the world. For in being raised to life again, after his death on the Cross as the bearer of sin for the world, Jesus overcame death. Not just physical death but also the death that comes from being separated from God by sin.
Easter is a celebration of this precious gift given by God, of reconciliation and new life. Indeed, if this day was not so significant the church might not have made a festival of his birthday. Here’s a thought – in a very real sense, Easter is the reason for Christmas!
As we review the developing public health situation it will be decided whether to resume physical services in our lovely church by Easter. If we do we will be limited in the numbers that are able to attend physically owing to measures in place for COVID-safe worship. The church website will provide the up to date information closer to the time. You are most welcome to join us in marking this most significant celebration, to the glory of God.