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Good Friday: Love That Does Not Discriminate Easter 2020

It’s been an unexpected and extraordinary Lent which has brought us to this Good Friday. Even though the COVID-19 curve appears to be flattening in Australia, this Holy Week road has still felt a lonely and anxious time for many. For those of us in the church the physical togetherness we are used to, in attending the many church services which makes this season so special, has been taken away from us.

During this time we’ve seen the least palatable side of our humanity, in terms of fear bringing out human stockpiling instincts to the disregard of the needs of others and the flagrant ignoring by some people for the self distancing measures required of us at this time. We’ve also seen the very best of human motivation and action as nurses, doctors caregivers’ work untold hours to save lives, others pack bags of groceries for those most vulnerable and forced to self isolate, and still others offer their gift and talents to free online cultural sessions.

At the beginning of A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens wrote:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way……

For churches, and church services in particular, the pandemic has led to an emergence of creative responses. Unexpectedly many of us have gained a new respect for social platforms; they’ve been an aid to continue in celebrating our services at this time. In fact I could say for the first time in my life I celebrated Palm Sunday at St James Piccadilly in London, whilst simultaneously staying at home in Melbourne. Christian Services have been zooming and YouTubing around the world all Lent - never before have we been able able to celebrate different liturgies inside so many different churches. That there is only a priest and a cantor or one or two others are present inside the churches or sacred spaces, are stark reminders to us that this isolation we experience is a globally shared one.