This year, for all of us, Easter has been celebrated very differently. Many have worshipped at home joining in the Spiritual Communion as I have celebrated the Eucharist at Church. Others have followed one of our Bishops offering the Eucharist from somewhere in Scotland and live streaming it to the web and others will have followed services on the television or radio. Our church buildings may have to be closed but we are still able to be 'church' and to inter-connect with each other as we worship our God.
If Easter teaches us anything then it is that things can and do change and can be renewed in different ways. When Jesus rose from the dead he came back changed in some way. In fact his followers didn't recognise him initially, he was different. The church and ourselves included have had to learn, in these past few weeks, how to be different and to do 'church' in new ways. Using the website, facebook, live streaming etc. are new ways to many of us but to others they are quite familiar but at least many of us now have experience of these ways of doing things and that is all for the good. For those very familiar with these approaches it is perhaps an opportunity for them to engage with church for the first time or to re-engage after a lapse or time away and for the church it is good that we are reaching out to more people in new ways. Being different or doing things differently is always a challenge but it is a challenge our Lord calls us to accept.
This 'lockdown' time is a challenge in so many ways but the unexpected blessings it is also giving is a gift. Time to learn new skills and to reach out to so many in new ways; re-connecting or connecting with friends old and new and simply finding ways of being church that are both familiar and new is exciting as much as it is terrifying. Our faith in Christ is always new and never static. We can always discover new things about Jesus and his Father as we pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance.
Above all things at this time it is prayer, whether it be private or 'on-line' or whatever - that is the most important thing we Christians can be doing. Prayer is the thing that unites us with God and each other and it is prayer that we can offer when we simply do not know what else to do. Prayer is never wasted or futile, it shows our care and concern and our hope for better things in the future.
Keep on praying for all at this time; those in need, those on the front-line and those anxious and confused:
Loving God, source of healing and comfort, fill us with your grace; that the sick may be made whole, that those who care for us will be strengthened, that those bereaved will be comforted, that the anxious will be calmed, and those most vulnerable be protected in the power of the Spirit, in the faith of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.