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The United Benefice of Withington, Sevenhampton with Charlton Abbots, Hawling, Whittington, Dowdeswell and Andoversford, Shipton and Cold Salperton

This month's letter from the clergy

Death and Resurrection

Dear friends,

This is one of those occasions where the gap between writing this article and you reading it is one where a great deal may have changed. As I write the coronavirus is starting to spread more. In two or three weeks it could have spread to many thousands of people. We have already put measures in place to prevent spread at church services. Already a few people have died in this country and again there are likely to be many more as you read this. Certainly the government and health authorities need our prayers at this time.

This is the month when we celebrate Easter (12th April) and whether we are able to get to Church then or not, the truth of the message of Easter is still worth celebrating and thinking about. It shows us the full extent of God’s love. God, in the person of his son, suffered and died on the cross for us. His suffering was both physical and spiritual as he bore the sins of each one of us as he died on the cross. And then three days later his friends not only found his tomb empty but actually met with him - he was alive again. He had proved that death is not the end. Paul writing in his letter to the Philippians says that after death Jesus will transform our bodies to be ‘like his glorious body’ - the resurrected body that he had. A physical body that could be touched but that no longer knew weakness or sickness. Paul’s words were incorporated into Church of England funeral services and are a key part of our hope. The message of Easter is both that we are loved to the uttermost and that we have hope for the future.

We do not have an answer now as to why there is so much suffering in the world. But we can have love and hope and I believe one day we will understand.

So whatever situation we find ourselves in as you read this. Ponder the great truths of Easter and may you know  God’s love and hope in your life.