Alone Together: Easter

Posted Wed, 03/31/2021 - 11:34 by Katharine

In the final blog of our Alone Together series +Sarah Bullock, Bishop of Shrewsbury and trustee of CCJ, reflects on the hope at Easter that there is light in the darkness

You can read this reflection below or watch on our YouTube channel

Our home sits on a main road running into the town and is has along it some shops and offices, a Further Education College, a school and the crematorium as well as numerous other houses.

From the window of my study I can usually see cars, vans and people moving backwards and forwards, busy about their daily lives.

During the lockdowns of the pandemic over the past year the human and vehicle traffic outside my window has varied enormously from the almost deserted, except for traffic to the crematorium, to the now building busyness of young people on the way to college, parents taking their children to school and people driving into work + the constant stream of delivery drivers who have supported and provided for our nation during this most challenging of years.

For me it has been incredibly important to hold on to the reality that although many share a sense of isolation at this time, apart from family, friends and colleagues, because we are made for community, we have found ways to make connections and to share in the experience together - we might be alone but we are alone together.

We have joined with our faith community online for worship and prayer, we have had meetings, conferences, school lessons, lectures and social events whilst sitting at our desks and we have joined in exercise classes, cookery courses and quizzes, among many other social activities on screen. We have been alone together.

However, we know that for many, especially those without access to technology, the isolation has been more keenly felt. Religious communities among many others, have been active in reaching out to those who are more isolated, with doorstep visits, deliveries of service and prayer leaflets, food parcels and medication. We have been alone together.

During this Holy Week in the Christian Church and now as we celebrate Easter, as Christians we hold on to the promise of Jesus’ words to his disciples after the resurrection:

‘I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’

We are not alone, but always in relationship with God, who never leaves us or forsakes us, as we hear promised in scripture. Even if we are physically alone, we are alone together.

This is particularly important as we share the good news of God’s love for the world, shown to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. In this time of continuing uncertainty, even though we see the government ‘roadmap’ set out before us, we almost feel that we cannot trust ourselves to be hopeful, in case our worst fears are realised. But the Easter message is a message of good news, of light in the darkness of hope out of despair, of the transforming power of love.

We see that reflected clearly in our reading today from the gospel of John.  We see Mary Magdalene, at the tomb of Jesus, caught up in her own emotions, unable even to recognise Jesus when he appears to her. It is only when Jesus speaks to Mary that she recognises his voice. As he speaks her name her world is transformed - the one who was dead is alive and she cannot wait to tell the others: “ I have seen the Lord.”

In scripture we hear the promise: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name and you are mine.”(Isaiah 49:16.)

God knows your name too, it is written on the palm of his hand, and his promise is for you to claim. Even when we feel alone, we are alone together with God and as children of his family.

May I wish you a blessed Easter.