A Message for Easter 2020 from the Rev. Paul Lawlor, vicar of St Stephen’s Church:
“WHO would ever have thought that we would be approaching Easter weekend with shops and businesses closed? Churches shut up, no In Real Life services taking place, schools not only closed for the Easter vacation but shut for, who knows how long.
Who would ever have thought that we would find ourselves in a time such as the one we are living now?
I hope and pray that you, and those you love, are keeping safe and well.
I pray too that jobs will be kept safe and that those still working in essential services are protected from this virus, which is no respecter of age, or seemingly, anything else for that matter.
Who would ever have thought we would spend an Easter weekend all shut away in our homes, but rather than being locked away out of fear, I pray we can be a people of hope.
In Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago the followers of Jesus were locked away in an upper room out of fear.
Not fear of a virus, but, fear of other people.
Jesus had been crucified on Friday; they were afraid they would be next.
They waited through the Sabbath, early on Sunday morning the women went to Jesus’ tomb to wash his body.
Whoever would have thought…Whoever would have thought the body would not be there – guarded as it was?
Mary stood weeping at the tomb. Where have they taken him?
Whoever would have thought…that Jesus would appear In Real Life to her in that moment, speaking her name.
Whoever would have thought that a man could rise from the dead.
That is the foundation of the Christian faith. That God, in Jesus, died and rose again.
This to assure us of His love for us and to show that we can have hope for the future in Him and through Him.
In this time we find ourselves, please do keep on doing the practical stuff. Follow the advice we are getting from those striving to do the best for us, here and across the world. Pray for then, give thanks for them.
But, let us also look to what it is to be human to be able to meet In Real Life, to share and co-operate in activity.
Take time to look at the greater picture. What does this time say about what really is possible?
Can we look to the future with hope and ambition, that future generations might say of us, practically and spiritually – Who would have thought…
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13