Interesting Times…a new ‘C’ word

Normally at this time of year we should be enjoying the longer days, the re-greening of our beautiful countryside, time with our families and loved ones…and for many of us (including me!) far too much chocolate.
Easter is the greatest and oldest of the feasts of the Christian Church, and like other Christian festivals has taken the place of even older pagan festivals. The 8th century Christian scholar the Venerable Bede suggested that the name was derived from Eostre, or Eostrae, the name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility, but the consensus now is that it comes via German from a Latin word meaning ‘dawn’, representing as it does the ‘dawning’ of the new age of the resurrected Jesus Christ. Another word associated with Easter is ‘pascha’, which looks back to the Jewish festival of Passover, when the events Christians celebrate at Easter took place 2000 years ago. It is a festival which actually gives real meaning for Christians to the key event in history – the resurrection, the rising from the dead, of the man Christians believe to be the Son of God.
Sadly, the events of the past few weeks and months have impacted on all of us in different ways – not just here in our own little community, but around the whole world – and at this point none of us has any idea how or when life will return to anything like normal. Life as we have known it has been suspended, including all church services. In an admittedly strange sort of way, the uncertainty, anxiety and confusion, and it must be said the self-interested
actions of some individuals, have reminded me of the similar doubts and emotions that must have afflicted those first followers of Jesus as they asked themselves, ‘so what happens now?’
Naturally our thoughts and prayers over the coming weeks and months will be focused on those who have been or will be directly affected by and infected with this new virus against which we are currently powerless.  Already people in our community are joining forces to reach out in all sorts of practical ways to friends and neighbours –
indeed to anyone who might be vulnerable.  Even though St Michael and All Angels church will not be able to hold services over Easter and beyond, it will be open ** as always for anyone who may wish to visit, to sit and
reflect, and of course to pray. I will be doing so myself, if not in church then certainly at home, and as always will be very happy to receive prayer requests from anyone.
However you will be spending Easter this year, I pray that you and your loved ones will emerge safe, healthy – and, I hope, with a renewed and revived sense of true community.
Revd Gary Williamson                                                         
** unfortunately all church buildings have had to close but Rev’d Gary is still happy to pray for you.