The following special joint letter was written for the April magazine, but of course many things changed at that time. We wrote whilst in the church season of Lent, preparing for Easter. Some days I feel as if we are still in Lent, a season of waiting. During our Easter celebrations this year, we empathised with the sense of stillness and lockdown, waiting with Jesus in the grave, before the hopeful joy of Easter Day which felt like a promise that however long it takes, life will be restored. We are still in the season of Easter and so I hope that this joint letter from the both of us and both our churches, can still encourage you as we experience together yet apart, the distancing and friendship, grief and comfort, anxiety and peace.
Love and prayers to you, Alison
We write to you with strange mixtures of heaviness of heart, and hope. Like you, we are also worried about the potentially serious effects of coronavirus infection on our families, friends and neighbours. We are concerned for our local businesses on whom we rely and who bring so much to our villages. We fear the increasing loneliness that may result from the disciplines of self-isolation and social distancing. We feel that we are looking into an unknown future, as if we are facing a challenging mountain climb before us and we cannot see the peak nor the path.
There is also plenty of hope as we already see the offers of support, the practical kindnesses and outpourings of love reaching through letter-boxes, posted on social media, ringing the telephones and even knocking in person on the doors. We rejoice in the goodness and love that has the strength to overcome the fear.
These are truly Easter days. Good Friday is an expression of the darkness we now feel, the struggle to see a way through and the imminent reality of suffering and death. Good Friday helps us articulate our distress and confront our fears. It does not diminish the reality of sickness and grief, but it does remind us that even in these difficult times, we are held in the loving hands of God. Thank God that Good Friday is not the end of the story – light emerges, life returns, resurrection and restoration are promised. The signs are already there, in the life of Christ and in the life of our villages, and what we have seen globally – they are signs of love in remarkable acts of kindness, sacrificial service, care for the sick, comfort for the bereaved and powerful hope for life itself.
We know that many will become sick, some already are. Many will recover, and some will not. Through it all, we keep faith with God who restores life, and with the powerful practical love that we see springing forth everywhere we see hope.
With much love and our prayers,
Alison and Becca