On Easter day our daughter Beth and I got up at 5.30am to listen to the dawn chorus and watch the sunrise on that beautifully clear morning. Afterwards we went back inside to watch the last two sections of the excellent Easter Vigil “Rumours of hope” before Keri joined me in linking up with our own Easter celebration from Witney. Beth joined her former congregation in Edinburgh. It all made for a memorable way to celebrate Easter day, topped off by a glass of champagne at lunchtime, my first taste of alcohol since the beginning of Lent!
What struck me about celebrating Easter in these Covid-19 days was both its domestic intimacy and also the sense of the wider Christian world of which we are part. At various times during Holy Week I joined a church in Chelsea, my former congregation in Shrewsbury, St Matthew’s Westminster, St Paul’s Cathedral, the national Rumours of Hope Easter Vigil (which includes a memorable, thoughtful talk by our own Joanna) and the various Services from Witney. Balanced against that wider picture was the way our Zoom Services take us into people’s kitchens and living rooms. And I like the way Toby’s “Hope” background makes him look like a tele-evangelist!
Of course we are all longing for the Lockdown to end, but it is also teaching us to watch for and be alert to the presence of the Risen Christ in the midst of that domestic intimacy, in the glorious signs of Spring that amazed Beth and me on Easter morning, and in the compassion and masked faces of those on the frontline of care in our hospitals and care homes. Having to slow down is making us more observant of the holiness of the ordinary, of that which surrounds us, which we can all too easily take for granted, and which a daily time of silent prayer opens our eyes, ears and hearts to notice with deep joy. I’m sure that’s a lesson that will change our lives for the better once some sort of normality is restored.