April 2021 Letter
April Letter 2021
He is risen!
Many people think of Christmas as being the ‘big one’ for the church, and despite being really significant it falls a long way behind Easter as the most important celebration of the year.
The period before Easter that we call Lent, can be a gift of time to us, to take a hard look at ourselves and be honest about our shortcomings and then make a conscious effort to change in readiness to meet the risen Christ on Easter morning. Some people do this by ‘giving up’ something that they enjoy, and others by ‘taking up’ something which is challenging or difficult or requires a discipline of commitment.
The week before Easter, known as Holy week starts on the Sunday with Palm Sunday celebrations as we recall Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Things rapidly change and the roller coaster of emotions intensifies, so that by Thursday we are marking the last supper, the arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, and the stripping of the altars, removing all the symbols and adornments from the church. Good Friday sees the crucifixion and the emptiness of the worlds light, continuing through Holy Saturday, until the evening when we hold the vigil, recalling Gods creation and deeds which reached fulfilment in Jesus.
It can be a dark time, before the dawn of the very best light.
Reflecting on this I can’t help but make connections with this last year of trials and tribulations, of fear and loss, or reduced freedoms and isolations. I’m sure that we have all learnt a lot about ourselves, and how we deal with these unusual circumstances. For many this has been a time of deep darkness and difficulty, but we must never forget that there has been so much new light shining through as well.
Let’s not forget the sacrificial actions of so many to keep us safe, healthy, fed and watered. The emergence of new friendships and closer relationships with neighbours and former strangers as we each looked out for each other, and when we asked ‘how are you?’ we actually really wanted to know and paid attention to the answer. My parents, both Londoners and in their late teens when the war broke out, would probably have referred to it as the ‘spirit of the blitz’. They would often tell me of the strength of community spirit, the shared enemy and the acts of quiet generosity and kindness that were demonstrated day after day. Each small act bringing a light of hope into another persons life.
As we approach Easter this year there is a real hope that we can see the dawning of new freedoms and a new beginning. I for one do not want to return to the old ‘normal’ if that means going backwards to how things were before March 2020, I want a new normal that retains all the good that we have found in each other, where neighbours and strangers alike, look out for each other simply because we are fellow ‘humans’ and if we have learnt anything then it has to be that this is more important than ‘all the other stuff’ that used to be the main focus.
As Christians we believe that Jesus came that we might have life, and that we might live it in all its fullness. This is not just a gift for ourselves as we are charged with sharing that gift of love with the world in all that we do. We don’t always get it right, but we keep on trying and we have each other to support and help each other on the way.
During the Easter vigil service on Saturday evening ( 3 April 2021 at 8pm St Mary’s), I am privileged to be the one to announce that Easter has begun with the words “Alleluia he is risen”. I fully expect that the normal joy felt at this moment will be magnified this year as the sense of hope and new beginnings will be even more tangible than ever. You would of course be most welcome to join us, and share in that joy, but always know that we are there and are praying for you.
May you know the love of the risen Christ this Easter.
The Reverend Su Tarran