The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, reflects on the challenges and opportunities of Easter as we have never know it before:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’. Dickens’ famous words could have been written for our own day. For many, certainly, these are the worst of times: people are suffering, and dying, from viral infection; many confined to their own homes are feeling isolated, frustrated or helpless; there is widespread anxiety about loss of income, lack of food, separation from loved ones; and, as always, the vulnerable are those who bear the heaviest burden. Perhaps most heartbreaking of all are the deaths and burials where family and friends are physically unable to be present to honour the departed and to comfort one another.
"But, strange to say, in some ways these are also the best of times. We are seeing, particularly from those who work in the NHS but also from shop workers, delivery operatives, emergency services and others, extraordinary commitment and courage.
"Churches and communities are reinventing themselves, turning outwards to care for those who are most in need. Compassion, kindness and common sense are being created online in imaginative and unexpected ways. We are realising as a nation that actually we quite like one another, and maybe are not so divided as we thought.
"And all this is happening as we prepare to celebrate Easter, which also speaks of the worst of times and the best of times. The worst, because in Jesus’ cross we see the darkness of the world at its blackest and are confronted with the reality of death. The best, because in raising Jesus to life God shows that there is no power stronger than the love which joins us together and gives us a hope which can never be defeated. I pray that you are kept safe and well this Easter, and that you know joy in your heart."