I am on Day 30 of lockdown. I know lots of people for whom ‘lockdown’ and ‘confined to home’ is the norm, so I’m not crowing about this fact. I simply want to acknowledge it. As a priest, lockdown feels especially acute during Holy Week and what is often called the Triduum, the period from Maundy Thursday through to Easter Sunday.
I have been busy from home, of course. Meetings, prayer, phone calls, more meetings, writing to people, prayer and more meetings. And some more meetings. However, like many priests, at a time when rightly we are not allowed to go in to church, I feel oddly exposed to my vulnerability and seeming uselessness. I cannot go about my vocation in my usual way.
I am learning something through this, something that I feel is worth saying, even – perhaps especially – on this Good Friday, when I feel the focus should be on the Cross, not on priest and people.
It is this: in my/our inadequacy to the situation, in my/our seeming uselessness I am minded once again of the centrality of Christ and of the Cross and of the Resurrection.
So, often, despite our best efforts, those of us who are ministers act as if it’s all about us. It’s not. It’s about God and what he’s up to. It’s about the Cross, and about the darkness of waiting, and the Empty Tomb. It is about the Paschal Mystery and the Living God.
In this time of trial (and indeed horror), there is gift. It is bitter and painful. I do not make light of loss. This time can feel and is almost unutterably bleak. Yet, in the void of Good Friday, the world turns, and we are called not to get in the way. And, in God’s good time, there shall be a new day.