A Pastoral message for Easter from the Synod Chair
I’m very conscious that our preparations for this Easter will be like no other I’ve experienced in my life-time. Instead of planning for special services and gathering round the Lord’s Table to celebrate Christ’s risen presence with us, most of shall instead be at home, looking to stay in touch with family, friends and neighbours, offering our prayers for those in need and trying to help out in such practical ways as we can in accordance with Government guidance (and there is a link to the most recent Methodist guidance on this on the Synod website.)
At the same time we shall be offering our thanks to those brave colleagues in the health, emergency, and also care and retail services who are currently going the extra mile, trying to support and sustain all those directly affected by the corona-virus and ensure that life remains manageable for the rest of us. It’s been heartening to hear the response and gratitude expressed to all such workers, for example on Thursday evening at 8pm.
Our Government has been reminding us of the need to stand ‘together’ on this and to be ‘as one’ if we’re to defeat the pandemic. But that’s not just the thrust of the recent public health campaign, it’s also a deeply biblical message.
Those following the lectionary in our excellent Prayer Handbook will be aware that over this last week we’ve been following St. Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians about the importance of sharing together in the life of Christ, indeed using the image of the body and its members. We’ve read how ‘God has so arranged the body… that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.’
Our country, like other countries right across the world, is currently facing an extraordinary challenge. In the midst of this challenge, some commentators are noting how it is that people are starting to rediscover the value of community and our shared inter-dependence upon one another. But that’s not a new message; rather it’s one that goes to the heart of the Christian message in the earliest writings of the New Testament in the letters of St. Paul.
So while we may not be able to celebrate the good news that ‘Christ is risen’ in our usual services this Easter, perhaps as we learn new ways to support and encourage one another through this crisis and beyond, we will discover afresh what it means to share in the risen Body of Christ and proclaim his resurrection life.
With every blessing for Easter,
Rev. Dr. Stephen Wigley,
Chair of the Wales Synod