Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Welcome to worship as we continue into the journey of the Great Fifty Days of Easter. ‘We are an Easter people, alleluia is our song’ - St Augustine
During the pandemic we have had to become accustomed (without really liking it) with social distancing, including no handshakes, hugs, reducing the amount of touch we have with other people.
Yet touch has been a most significant way of showing friendship, positive regard and love. All the mesures that we have had to observe naturally create distance, with the difficulties of intimacy being an unfortunate consequence. Yet we have had to also learn other ways we can do this. The way we smile towards others (when not wearing masks), elbow bumps, kind words and attentive listening. More contact by phone, written notes and cards and more, Even the way we celebrate the Sacraments has been affected, but we have found ways to do so, where at least Christ still touches us spiritually and we can recognise he presence among us as we hear Word proclaimed and bread broken.
Just as today’s Gospel reminds us that ‘Blessed are those who have not seen, yet have come to believe’. That unlike Thomas we don’t need to touch Jesus wounds to know that we are in the presence of the risen Christ, nor to have necessarily hugs and handshakes with each other to know we are loved and respected by others. This can be observed in a myriad of ways and to know it in our hearts.
May your journey well with the presence of our risen Lord Jesus this week.
Rev Cannon Ian Howarth is the Rector of the Anglican Parish of St Paul's Kyneton and St John's Malmsbury and is the team leader of the Central Highlands Cluster.