"I am so glad to have the opportunity to greet you this Easter Day and share some reflections in these difficult and unsettling times…
Today is normally a day for celebration and feasting, for gathering or visiting family, and a reference point in the year for all of us, especially Christians, with the Bank Holiday an extra plus. This year may be very far from normal but we are still finding ways to mark it and make it special despite the constraints. Creativity has blossomed, including in our churches to connect people with one another and with God.
Covid-19 may have cast a long shadow but it is being driven back by the ways in which together we are rising to the threat. We are discovering new things about ourselves or, rather, rediscovering things we have always known. In the midst of the viral epidemic we are seeing a counter epidemic: one of concern and care for our neighbours; one of appreciation for those whose contribution to society has often been ignored or demeaned; and an overflow of courage and a willingness to risk life itself in order to serve and save others. These reflect qualities exemplified by Jesus and are hallmarks of human beings at our best.
The Christian faith declares that in and through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God does all it would take to ensure fear, violence, poverty, death and disease will not have the last word. Bearing the load of others and sharing in suffering was integral to this but the keynote, ringing out that first Easter Day, is hope and new beginnings from the darkest of times.
We know the Covid-19 crisis will bring massive challenges to world economies including our own. It is a grave threat but it holds out an opportunity, and that is to build on what we have learned personally and collectively about being at our best for one another, especially in relation to the most vulnerable in our society.
Rather than sinking us, our challenge could lead us to consider and embrace pathways which would have seemed impossible before the crisis; perhaps a wholesale rethinking of what a healthy society needs at its heart in a new reality where less could turn out to be more. I wonder whether appreciation of each other’s contributions might become a new normal rather than criticism.The Easter narratives in the Bible may be pretty harrowing but they peak with breaking the hold of death and giving confidence in the goodness of God no matter what. So for you and those you love and care for this Easter, may tears be wiped away, fears relieved and the eternal song of hope and gratitude revive your soul.
May I wish you a very Happy Easter!"