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Maundy Thursday 2020

9th April 2020

Dear friends,

On that first Good Friday , darkness came over the whole land and as he hung on the cross, Jesus cried out, in the words of Psalm 22, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Mark 15:33-34).

Psalm 22 is a lament, a song of abandonment. As the death toll mounts, our Prime Minister is (at the time of writing) still in intensive care, many of us have friends or loved ones who are ill or have even lost their lives, can we not share in this lament? It’s right for this to be our song too.

On that first Holy Saturday , Jesus lay in the tomb. His body was carefully wrapped in grave clothes, a large stone was firmly rolled into place. Pilate even sent guards to make sure it stayed that way.

As we experience lockdown and for the first time ever are unable to meet together to celebrate Easter, we might feel tempted to despair, that all hope is lost. Others are asking, ‘If there really is a God, where is he in all this?’ Were we wrong to get our hopes up?

On that first Easter Sunday , the women went to the tomb to attend to Jesus’ body and yet…he wasn’t there! He was no longer in the place of death. Mary’s initial reaction was to weep – they must have taken his body away, adding insult to injury. But both the angels and then Jesus himself appeared, asking her, ‘Why are you crying?’ That evening, Jesus appeared to his disciples (themselves in lockdown from fear), and said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ (John 20:21).

Friends, the dramatic, awesome message of Easter is so relevant right now, and it is what our world needs to hear. Coronavirus does not have the final say. Fear has no authority over us, rather we have authority over it through Jesus, whose name is higher than any other. Death will not defeat us. God journeys with us through pain and uncertainty but will see us through victorious. Psalm 22 doesn’t end in despair and abandonment but in praise and worship, proclaiming God’s righteousness (verses 22-31).

As we reflect on the Easter story this weekend, let’s remember it’s our story too. And may we tell it to those around us, because God is sending us too.

God bless you,