Maundy Thursday. Normally, some of us would be gathering tonight at St. Mary's for a Eucharist that recalls the first Eucharist, with the symbolic washing of feet; then lighting candles on the tomb, waiting for a while in the holy darkness, entering into some sense of Jesus' desolation as he awaits his harsh fate.
Normally...but this is no normal Holy Week. We won't be following the cross from St. Sabinus' up Potter's Hill; we won't be sitting in silence, in St. Matthew's, to hear the story of Jesus' Passion; and we won't be sharing in that great explosion of joy on Easter Sunday, as we remember again that it's true: death has been conquered, Jesus is risen, we have nothing to fear.
There's no point in sugar-coating it: we will miss that unique, extraordinary feeling of journeying together through the stages of this great story. Instead, we can use memory to recall that feeling, as we've shared it in years gone by. We can use our imagination to trace Jesus' steps, walk behind him, and wonder how we might have reacted to the unfolding drama. And we can find time (we have plenty of that now) to do no more than sit and stare at the beauty around us, and realise that this is all one love - the generosity of creation is the same as the generosity of the dying Christ who calls his Father to forgive us all. It is all the same love, the same kind of love; and wherever we are, whoever we are, this love is given to us. We don't miss out on God's love for us.