Entering the third week of Covid-19 lockdown: and social isolation feels almost normal now…. But there are other calendars, other ways of marking time. For schoolchildren and students, it’s the Easter holidays, meaning a relief from intensive on-line tuition for a couple of weeks. And - we are now in Holy Week: traditionally a time of reflection on the things we usually forget – suffering, cruelty, betrayal, death. For coronavirus sufferers and those caring for them, the Covid calendar and the Christian calendar coincide here, overlap each other.
For it’s likely, apparently, that this week will see a peak in Covid-19 deaths in our country. We’re now talking in hundreds each day, a total of thousands: and we know that every patient who succumbs to the virus leaves a family behind to grieve. Holy week, grieving week: the week Jesus patiently made his way towards Calvary; the week many families will have their own Calvaries.
But what beyond that? Her Majesty the Queen’s broadcast to the nation last evening was solemn, and fittingly so. But it was hopeful. And it’s surely hope that will keep us all going, hope that beyond the present awfulness of pandemic there will be a time of living normally again, a time of renewal. And that takes us back to the Easter hope: the conviction that beyond suffering and death there is resurrection. How dreadful Holy week would be without the prospect of Easter morning, without the meeting in the wet garden….