April 15th 2020
In the ancient traditions, new Christians attended classes throughout Lent, before being baptised on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday). They continued to wear their white baptismal robes for the the whole of Easter week. It was a holiday week, so they wouldn't get too dirty, and they could spend time praying and meditating on their new life.
The Sunday after Easter was the final day for wearing white, and during the service on that day, they would, like us, hear what Jesus said to his disciples in the Upper Room; "as the Father sent me, so I send you." They would hear how Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into his friends, giving them his own life ...... and then on Monday morning they would put on their ordinary clothes, and go back to work. They were baptised into Christ, filled with his Spirit, and sent by him into the world.
Rather like the first disciples, we are shut away from everyone else, and discover that Christ is with us in our seclusion. Like those newly baptised Christians, we can use this time for extra prayer and meditation – and why not wear something white, to remind yourself that you are a baptised and beloved child of God?
One day, this time of seclusion will come to an end – and then we will return to our everyday lives, free to see who we want, and go where we wish. As Christians, we remember that we shall go back into the world as witnesses to the Risen Christ, and as his disciples.
With much love, and prayers that you will continue to be blessed by God's presence.
And where is Jesus, this strange Easter day? Not lost in our locked churches, anymore than he was sealed in that dark sepulchre. The locks are loosed; the stone is rolled away, and he is up and risen, long before, alive, at large, and making his strong way into the world he gave his life to save;
no need to seek him in his empty grave.
He might have been a wafer in the hands
of priests this day, or music from the lips
of red-robed choristers, instead he slips
away from church, shakes off our linen bands
to don his apron with a nurse: he grips
and lifts a stretcher, soothes with gentle hands
the frail flesh of the dying, gives them hope, breathes with the breathless, lends them strength to cope.
On Thursday we applauded, for he came and served us in a thousand names and faces mopping our sickroom floors and catching traces of that virus which was death to him: Good Friday happened in a thousand places where Jesus held the helpless, died with them that they might share his Easter in their need; now they are risen with him, risen indeed.