This will be an Easter like no other we can remember. Everything is different. Everything feels strange and awkward. The weather has been more than fair and nature is just getting on with what nature does. Nothing seems to hinder lambing and calving, nest-building and garden growth. The lawn is almost ready for its second cut and this last week I saw a chap cutting his hedge with the aid of a spirit level.

Human life, though, is properly changed. At least for the present. So much is missing from our lives and it is easy, and just, that we lament what we’re missing. For me, the greatest challenge is the lack of human encounter. It’s not just about seeing people and chatting, I’m missing the physical encounters – a handshake, a hug or kiss and I am most missing putting into outstretched hands the Body of Christ. It is a heart-breaking experience being unable to administer Holy Communion physically each week. I am fortunate indeed that the celebration of the Eucharist has continued and I can assure you that each time I take the Sacred Host into my hands I embrace our whole community with it.

In the story of Easter physical encounter and contact plays a huge part. Mary Magdalene recognises Jesus as he speaks her name to her. Thomas will later recognise Jesus as he touches the wounds in Christ’s body. The disciples will recognise Jesus as he talks and eats with them. We are a people not designed to be alone and to revel in the company and physicality of others.

Despite our lockdown at the moment, we must remember and trust that Christ can never be contained. If death could not hold him then a virus stands no chance. If we spend some of our solitude reflecting on what it means for the risen Christ to be in the world we will soon recognise him wherever we look. Spend some time thinking about what and how Jesus taught his disciples to live – about what their priorities should be. Jesus is risen this Easter-tide. There was never any risk that he would not be. Jesus is alive and at work in our communities today getting on quietly and diligently with the work and caring that needs to be done.

Although, in these times of restriction, we cannot meet together as we have done for so many Easter Sundays, please know, believe and trust that Christ is alive – alive in our hearts, in our communities and in the Church and in the whole world.

On Easter Sunday we celebrate – there’s no reason why we shouldn’t – as the first disciples did in their time of isolation and uncertainty. However you do it, this Sunday, make a noise, shout your Alleluias, raise a glass, feast on what you have, share joy and love with as many as you can.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! ALLELUIA!!!