My dear Clergy and People of God, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:4) Please keep the candle of hope burning. Do not curse the darkness. We woke up this morning after the announcement of our State President last night that the National lock down of our country continues until end of April. Unlike Caiaphas and the Council of the religious ones, unlike Pontius Pilate, our State President had the courage to do what he believes is right to save our people from physical death due to Covid-19. Today we unite our crosses to the cross of Jesus. As the lock down continues, each of us has a cross to bear and a burden to carry: a mental anxiety, a bodily infirmity, or a spiritual frailty. Whatever it
may be, we need to behold Jesus on the Cross to find inspiration to carry our own. Good Friday 2020 is like no other. The Passion story has become our story. The whole human race is affected. The Passion narrative of Jesus has become our narrative as it mirrors our own pain and
suffering. The virus is causing so much pain. When you say the office of Evening Prayer tonight, spend a moment reflecting on the Magnificat. “He
has scattered the proud in their conceit….and has lifted up the lowly.”
Remember 1994 when for the first time in 300 years, the entire nation was finally allowed to vote? We owe it to our people to help them to maintain that dignity today still and not be humiliated and lose their dignity because of homelessness, hunger, violence in all its forms, inequality. Thank you for
your compassion and works of charity. We need some astute thinking now in our Diocesan Fiscal Planning.
I call upon all of us during this period of lock down and today in particular, to reach out to someone you know is suffering emotional, psychological or spiritual distress. Who is that one person that you need to call? Be the wounded healer, help to heal the world on Good Friday, starting in your own small corner. Let us not give in to despair. Let us pray to God to not become prisoners of fear. As we stay inside, let us dig deep within ourselves to see what change God is calling us to make inside of ourselves.
We continue to pray for all on the frontline and in essential services and their loved ones – especially doctors, nurses, paramedics, hospital staff, researchers, police and army officers. They are not superheroes, they are afraid, they are vulnerable. We give thanks that the Arms industry has turned from making weapons of war to making ventilators and shields.
These are tough times. We open ourselves to God’s love. God’s love inspires us to persist and to endure. Today the light of Christ still shines in the darkness and the darkness of the Coronavirus will not overcome it. May this knowledge inspire us and may God’s tremendous love encourage us as we pick up our own cross to follow Christ. May you be abundantly blessed this Good Friday. I am, because we are, because God is … opening hearts to heal God’s world.
Bishop Margaret B. Vertue, Bishop of False Bay
10 April 2020