“Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.”
For the first time, most Christian churches around the world are closed on Easter Day. This year we observe Easter in a challenging context amid isolation and difficult situations. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected the whole world, is also affecting the way Easter will be celebrated at St Andrew’s.
To protect our own lives and those of others, we could not have a procession of palms on Palm Sunday nor gather with others from the Brighton Covenant Churches on Good Friday. This year our church will not resound with hymns and liturgies, expressing and sharing our Easter joy with one another, other than the isolated voices preparing an Easter liturgy on-line.
Instead, we share the mystery of Easter and meet the Risen Lord in our homes, behind closed doors, via video. Many of our people are experiencing fear and uncertainty, as well as trauma, separation, isolation, and in some places in the world loss of members or even death in their families or in their church communities.
Yet, despite these traumatic and painful situations, the message of Easter continues to be a joyful one of courage and hope.
The first experience of the disciples with the Risen Lord occurred in similar circumstances. Out of fear and to protect their own lives, Jesus’ disciples gathered in a room, behind closed doors. And it was there that the Risen Christ came among them, bringing his peace. As they were startled and terrified, “He said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” (Luke 24:36).
The Risen Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). Easter is a reminder and encouragement that God in Christ continues to love and care for the whole world, overcoming death with life, conquering fear and uncertainty with hope.
The Easter message conveys that our God is a loving God, the source of life, not death, the God of life and love “For 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. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17). Therefore we should not be tempted to explain the present situation as an expression of God’s punishment and wrath.
Throughout the centuries, the Easter greeting ”Christ is risen!” has always infused Christians with the power and courage to confront death, destruction, oppression, and to end enslavement, fear, doubt and uncertainty.
As we are confronted today with the challenges of COVID-19, we assure you that in these days Michelle and I are united with you in prayer and in affirming together our common faith and hope in the Risen Lord: “… thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).
We wish you all a blessed and holy Easter. Stay safe.
But wait , there's more...
Every Wednesday at 10.30am we catch up either on-line with video or just ring in for a voice chat. So please join us and hear voices that you know and see some familiar faces.
And next Sunday, 19 April, our guest preacher will be Bishop Paul Barker, and our service will be a in contemporary format.