ASK: Lock down extended

Vicar's Blog ~ April 2020
Ask: Lock down

2020-05-17-Gordon

Christ is risen: Alleluia! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Dear friends,

The lock down has been extended, which comes as no surprise really. Perhaps we are getting used to it in a strange way. I hope and pray that everyone is well and coping. Jayne B is in hospital (not with the virus), so we offer many prayers for her. Also Ivor Seyler whom we hear has had an operation that hasn’t gone well. Also, of course, for all those who have lost loved ones, are separated from them, and, for those wonderful people who are manning the NHS frontline. The language we are using is of warfare, a physical and exhausting battle against an unseen and pernicious enemy. We know folk who work for the NHS - too many to name in fact - you and I know who they are (although perhaps we should collate a list of names - do send me names of key workers and we’ll add a section to our prayer list). We also give thanks for those who have survived this, our Prime Minister and Prince Charles among them. I have been in contact with several folk who have had relatives in hospital, in ITU and so on, with mixed outcomes. And huge thanks to everyone - to all of you - who are looking after one another so wonderfully. Those phone calls, shopping trips, emails, WhatsApp texts and calls, really do make a difference and hold us together as a parish community, separated only by social distance but united in faith, hope and love.

Jessica and Maria and I send you all our love, we are fine, doing a lot of tidying up and chucking out, preparing for a move we have no idea when will happen. Unusually for a clergy move, we are part of a chain at the other end, so cannot move in until someone else moves out. So in the meantime, we are still here, and here for you all.

And remember, it’s still Easter! Christ is risen: Alleluia! We are Easter People, and ‘Alleluia’ is our song!

For as Christians, we have a job to do at this time. Jesus has burst the ‘three-day prison’ of the grave leaving a tomb emptier than our streets. This is our faith and our hope. Others have lived and died through more challenging times than this, which is not to say the emotional, spiritual and physical challenges and privations are not significant. But with an Easter faith to celebrate, we are the lucky ones. The empty tomb gives us hope to pray for the time when we can fling wide our doors and share our faith again with those whom we can see and touch. Meantime we remember what happened on that Easter Day: Jesus came behind lockdown doors and offered the disciples peace and hope (v.19). He showed them the marks of passion which proved his resurrection, but like Mary in the garden (v.17), they did not touch him. Yet when he returned he invited Thomas to touch and hold Jesus. The time was right. It is important to be able to touch and hold others, their bodily presence is as important as emotional and spiritual presence. In the faith, hope and love the risen Christ gives us, we have all three: spiritual faith, emotional hope and loving touch. These three abide, and they abide, as the risen Christ himself does, in us, with us and through us. The ability to touch others again will be restored. Meantime we can infect others with faith, hope and love at huge distances, through walls and behind closed doors. And there is an exit strategy: resurrection life. That is truly Good News for all of us, at home or out and about, inside or out, now and always. For the risen Christ is with us always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). So we are Easter People, and ‘Alleluia’ is our song.

Give us your Easter joy O Jesus, and while we are distanced from others, draw us close to you, that when the doors of our isolation are flung open, we may burst out into a world blossoming with resurrection hope, faith and love. Amen.

Gordon

Partly extracted from: https://www.brf.org.uk/updates/easter-people-lockdown

An expanded version as the sermon for the Second Sunday of Easter see: Easter 2