An Easter Message from The Archbishop of Canterbury

My dear Clergy & People,

I am writing to you from the cellar in Lambeth Palace.

Easter is the most sacred time in the Christian Year and normally I would be writing to you about the most serious and solemn parts of our faith and practice. I mean of course climate change, the urgent need to reduce your carbon footprint, rising sea levels and the Antarctic icecap which is melting catastrophically. In normal times I would have been asking you to pray for God’s faithful servants in Extinction Rebellion as they go about their vocation and ministry by defacing public buildings and holding up the traffic. I would be asking you to give heartfelt thanks for the witness of the Blessed Virgin St Greta. But saving the planet – though it is the Church’s primary duty – is not our only concern. For we live in an unequal society, so I would have asked Archbishop “Chippy” Sentamu to say a few seasonal words about diversity and race-hate crimes

But these are not normal times. We are beset by the coronavirus. But this is not the time to panic. However, I have taken care to discuss the matter with members of the Archbishop’s Council, and they will tell you precisely when it’s time to panic. In these challenging times, we must remember those comforting words which are the very heart of our faith: “Come unto me all ye that travail and are heavy-laden, and I will give you a hand-sanitizer.”

And, especially at Eastertide, we must remember our responsibility towards our neighbour. For it is written, “Let him that hath ten loo rolls give two of them to him (or her) that hath not.” And if a man (or a woman) should ask you to walk one mile with them, make sure you walk no further than one mile and keep social distancing to the space of six cubits and a span.

Remember also where the Good Book says, “When two or three are gathered together in my name…” But I say unto you, that is far too many. Eastertide is surely a time for self-isolation, as Jesus quarantined himself those forty days and forty nights in the wilderness

Again, it is written, “My house shall be a house of prayer.” But this, along with so many other things, has changed. And so I say to all Vicars and Curates: lock the church doors; do not even enter therein by thyself

Sadly, the days are past when there might be the feeding of 5000 and other feasting. It is written, “Go ye into all nations and make men (and women) my disciples.” This has now been amended by the House of Bishops into the firm instruction, “Keep well clear of everybody!”

No longer, “Take eat…drink this in remembrance of me.” This is not a time for remembrance. We are commanded to forget all about it. For the Church of England verily hath resigned

Finally, and above all things, remember the example set for us by St Pontius Pilate who, when he was challenged as we are now challenged, washed his hands!

I wish you all a sanitized and self-isolated Easter!

Justin Cantuar

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