It’s Bank Holiday Monday and the first episode of Killing Eve is on the iplayer. No doubt we will gather as a family to watch it later and this will become a lockdown family tradition.
For those who’ve not seen it, Killing Eve follows an international hit woman, the police woman who sought to catch her and the weird relationship that subsequently developed. Just like shows like Line of Duty the excitement is in the plot twists hoping that the big picture behind it all will be revealed. All good escapist fun.
Right now it feels like we are all part of the plot. The whole world and certainly our whole country are actors on the Coronavirus stage. Even when it involves staying at home we are in doubt we have a part to play in preventing the virus spreading. We are all getting used to doing the social distancing dance when we venture out for a walk or to a shop.
This is by far the biggest national crisis I have lived through, it dwarfs the financial crash I was fortunate to (just) stay employed through and distant wars our armed forces were sent to foreign lands to fight.
It has been a constant battle to adapt to working from home, managing my Council team and taking on new responsibilities via my phone and new sofa office. Last week my Vicar, Mick, spoke about this in his podcast referring to its abnormality and the constant need to re-evaluate without our usual rhythms (1)
I have tried to support my team, to encourage them their best is enough and to tell them not to internalise the times when they’re not sure what to do. I’m sure like everyone I’ve had my moments of feeling angry, powerless and a bit lost within it all.
It’s been a strange Easter. It’s been very hard not to share it with my church family as much as church has put together great online resources. My wife also had a brilliant idea of making and delivering a simple service sheet for a ten minute act of doorstep worship, which we shared with neighbours on our street from our respective doorsteps.
The pause from work has been a massive release and there has been more time than ever to reflect on the Easter message. Easter is the greatest plot twist.
Jesus was dead. The insurrection had been put down. Another rebel put in his place. Jesus’ followers were bereft and terrified.
And then he rose.
The tomb was empty. The body was gone.
And then he appeared – many times, to many people. And the effect was utterly transformational.
The shattered disciples became the revolutionary church, spreading with love and power, through persecution to the ends of the earth.
The cross of Christ is the hinge of history. The resurrection is the demonstration of victory and hope. Jesus is alive. We can know him and his overcoming life.
So what does that mean for me when I go back to work tomorrow?
It means when I struggle in the abnormality I am not alone.
It means that when I can’t fix the chaos, God promises I will find his grace in my weakness to keep going and do what I can.
It means that when I want to find someone to blame, he helps me to forgive, he cleans my heart up and gives me hope to see beyond.
Our routines and our self-reliance are stripped bare during this season. The myths of control and progress are rendered redundant. In this, we find that people matter more than anything. We learn to be grateful for what we have.
Just as the Queen eloquently stated that Easter is not cancelled (2), God is not distant or impotent. The risen Christ is there for each of us and whether we see it or not he is at work in this time.