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A Different Kind of Holy Week and Easter

by Michael Ford last modified 09 Apr, 2020 10:42 AM

Bishop Nicholas has said that, while this Holy Week and Easter will be very different from those we are used to, "God is everywhere so we can be with God anywhere."

In his Easter Message Bishop Nicholas said:

"With the peak of the pandemic yet to arrive it would be madness for church to continue as usual. We’ve all got to stay home to save lives. Thank God for the NHS and for the variety of key workers who are doing wonderful and work in such challenging times."

But he said while it is "good to pray at home and we all need times of solitude it’s the people who are missing. Religion, like life, is communal. How I missed the Palm Sunday procession, the people, the palms, the singing and the donkey.

"How much more so is that going to be on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Day. Lighting the new fire just before dawn outside the west front of the cathedral and entering that building with just the great Easter candle to illuminate the dark is the most wonderful moment of the year. The light is given to each of the hundreds of people holding a candle who every other year have been present to celebrate the resurrection and renew their baptismal vows."

The Bishop reflected that:

"The Passion of Christ is the same as ever but this week we will notice different things as we mark the Way of the Cross. There’s the same fickleness in human nature in Judas’ betrayal of Jesus and Peter’s denial that he even knew him. The political calculations about sacrificing one to save many might sound very uncomfortable when politicians are making difficult decisions about limited resources for all the patients in the care of the NHS.

"This year the bewilderment of the disciples at strange and unexpected events is likely to strike us more than usual. So will the isolation of Jesus on the cross crying, “My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me”. That will echo painfully for anyone unable to be with their loved one in their last hours as will only one or two being present at the burial of Jesus or tending the body in the tomb."

He added:

"Life goes on. God is here. We will celebrate Easter because of the significance of what happened nearly 2,000 years ago. People are resourceful and adaptive. So is the Church. When we are able to gather again to celebrate the resurrection what joy there will be on earth as in heaven!

"Amidst it all, I pray this year at home we will have no less a real and a happy celebration of Easter."

Read the full message here.

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