Last Sunday, low Sunday, seemed especially appropriately named this year. The high feast of Easter had been celebrated, differently but with energy and imagination, but then after many of us had rested, came the announcement of three more weeks of lock-down and sobering news from our hospitals and care homes of deaths and staff struggling heroically with such challenging conditions. What we knew with our heads moved to our hearts as the marathon nature of the race we must run became yet clearer. All of us, without exception, will be managing a range of emotions, alongside the practical tasks of living each new day with all that it will demand of us. All of us, without exception, have been and continued to be inspired by our front-line health workers and careers, and so many more, those who go to work to ensure basic services continue, those who care for children at home, all struggling with adversity, all of us need to know that kindness we are called to show others and ourselves.
But the great truth of the Easter feast is that it is not a one-day wonder, it lasts a full 50 days, taking us from the confused and frightened first disciples with not much of a clue as to what was going on other than a dawning realisation that hope was somehow restored, to the Emmaus Road, the upper room with doors closed and brave Thomas the only one with the courage to voice his doubts, to the lake shore with nets full of fish and Jesus cooking breakfast, to Pentecost and the outpouring of the gift of the Spirit. The Easter feast asks us to go on a journey with highs and lows as we discover what it is to live resurrection life. That life does not deny the darkness, the reality of death that we hear of each day in the news and that many of us know all too close at this time, but it does assure us that this is not the last word.
There is rightly a sense of this being a new season, and yes, it is a marathon and not a sprint, yet this is Easter too, and we will need to run it at the right pace, with kindness that allows us to rest and recover, offering mutual support and encouragement, not in competition.
With Bishop Rachel, I remain deeply inspired by the life we share in this Diocese which it is our immense privilege to lead. Thank you for all you are doing. In these days of Easter take time, rest, work, cry, care, mourn, laugh, love, sleep and know it is the risen Christ with whom we walk. We may struggle to understand, we may doubt, but the one who has come through the darkness is with us.
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!