‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’
For years there have been warnings about the threat of a global pandemic. There has been the odd epidemic which hasn’t hit the whole world as badly as Covid-19. Though for those parts of the world where Ebola or SARS or Bird Flu stuck, I am sure they would say it was none to pleasant. So why, with those warnings in place, with the level of understanding we have of the science around virus today. Why were we not prepared?
Of course, the short answer is, seeing is believing. Even if you had some idea of how big an impact a pandemic could have, would you have imagined the scenario we are in now. Somehow, short of an apocalyptic thriller or a Zombie film, it feels like we have gone beyond what any Holywood script writer would have dared to predict, up to now anyway.
The reality though is starting to become more present. Except for the few working in hospitals and seeing patients, for many of us Covid-19 seemed far away. Happening on the television. We knew it was there, but it was something we couldn’t see. But now, as stories of family and friends in ICU or even of those we know who have died, the virus becomes real to us in a completely different way. So how in the midst of that grief can we celebrate Easter? The disciples were given warnings, hints, prophecies and parables about Jesus’ death. He literally told them what would happen. They even tried to stop him going back to Jerusalem, for fear of what would happen. But still, they came to events of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and found themselves completely confused and lost – running and hiding in fear. The women are the ones brave enough to go out on that Easter morning, in hopes that the soldiers would help them enter the tomb.
Suddenly an earthquake and the stone is rolled back and an angel comes and perches on it, causing the soldiers to faint in fear. The two Marys witness it and you get the feeling they are in shock – confused, unsure what to make of this. They hear the message from the Angel and go, with fear and joy. There is still a sense of confusion about what is happening – Is it good or bad? – they aren’t really sure. It’s when Jesus appears to them that they fall on his feet and worship him. We aren’t told who the other Mary is, could it be Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who in John’s Gospel anoints Jesus’ feet – who now falls upon those same feet in worship? The post-resurrection narratives all have a common theme about doubt and the challenge of believing. And yet, off the back of the experiences the disciples went through, they went from their fearful hiding to being willing to stand up and face anything, even torture and death, trusting in Jesus’ Resurrection.
Yes, we live in difficult times and those times will change us and our communities in many ways. Yes, we will find ourselves grieving, whether it be the loss of space, or work, or financial stability, or family or friends. But we also have this hope that can be kindled inside us. That this too will pass and that the God who gives us life, is bringing us into Jesus’ resurrected life, so that we can overcome fear with the knowledge of God’s love.
The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams
8.00am Morning Prayer in the lady chapel
10.00am Parish Eucharist with choir and Sunday School
Christian Meditation Wednesdays at 9.10am
Said Eucharist on Wednesdays at 11.00am
Monday through Thursday at 5.30pm
Please note that Public worship has been suspended, you can therefore participate in these services via Facebook live stream
I was struck by the favourite movies people sent in for this week’s newsletter.
I learned early on that I couldn’t rely on my own brilliance, even if I couldn’t admit it to anybody else, I admitted it to myself and to God.
Parent friends of mine up and down the country are acknowledging how much more respect they now have for teachers
I don’t know about all of you, but I’ve found this week quite difficult. I find it difficult to focus and think straight.