As I write this, we have started our period of social isolation and over the next few weeks will be in the critical phase of the Coronavirus for our country.

The ramifications for our social and economic wellbeing seem to multiply by the day, and over the past weeks we’ve all experienced rising anxiety levels as we adjust to the possibility of becoming ill, restricted contact and being confined to a smaller living environment.

This is also an unprecedented time in the life of the church, for the first time in our history we are facing the prospect of celebrating Easter with the doors of our church closed. Our spiritual wellbeing is being tested as well as our social and economic health.

However, we know and are increasingly experiencing how the core of the Church is its people and not its cherished buildings, and this year we will meet to celebrate the great feast of Easter in a new way. The week before Easter is Holy Week, when we remember Jesus’s last days before he goes to the cross. The great symbols of Easter are the cross and the empty tomb. The cross tells us that God shares in our suffering and the empty tomb tells us that God’s purpose for us is new life.

In our current situation we are experiencing simultaneously these two messages and the message of Easter is needed now more than ever. We are like those first disciples, in a period of waiting. But, because we live in a period after the first Easter, we know how the story ends. The wonderful news of Easter is that nothing can now separate us from the love of God.

We may have to live at a distance from each other, but God is always close. Easter establishes an eternal truth, that three days after his death Jesus was raised to life, and so we are a people of hope. I give thanks to God for the many ways we are experiencing this new life in Teddington at this time.

Rev Caroline Halmshaw