Like Phil, I should like to say thank you for the messages of appreciation we have received for the Holy Week and Easter services. Like you, I can’t wait to be in St John’s again worshipping together, a service of celebration which will, no doubt, also be tinged with sadness. I think, though, that day is sometime off. As restrictions are lifted, I suspect that large gatherings still won’t be allowed initially. Hence the importance of continuing to stay connected. I suggested in an earlier blog working your way through the alphabet as a means of keeping in touch with folk. I’ve tried to keep to that myself but there have been days when things have gone awry. Perhaps, like me, you’ve been touched by people checking in with you; people to whom you now only send a Christmas card or someone you’ve perhaps not heard from for a number of years.
Before training for ministry, I was a volunteer lay chaplain at Scunthorpe Hospital. The lead chaplain when I started there was a Methodist minister. I have stayed in touch with him over the years and thought I’d share with you the message he sent me on Holy Saturday (hence the reference to Easter eve):
“W. E Sangster was perhaps the greatest of Methodist preachers to occupy the pulpit of Westminster Central Hall towards the close of a distinguished ministry.
In 1960 he lay speechless and paralysed except for the partial use of one hand – and with that hand he wrote down on a pad of paper on the last Easter of his life the words, “It is terrible to wake up on Easter morning and have no voice with which to shoot “He is Risen”, but it would be still more terrible to have a voice and not want to shout.”
Today is the Eve of Easter – and tomorrow for many of us it will be an Easter Day locked out of our churches. In John’s Gospel the friends of Jesus were behind locked doors. In a strange way things are reversed and we find ourselves locked outside for fear of coronavirus.
Wherever we find ourselves – and for whatever reason – it is the Day of Resurrection – and we of all people have reason to shout aloud “Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!”
I hope you have been able to experience the blessings of Easter even though we remain in the waiting place. Jesus is alive and is with us as we wait.