'You are not alone,' Archbishop tells all those affected by coronavirus in Easter sermon

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has used his Easter Sunday sermon to deliver a message of hope to all those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a first for the Archbishop, the sermon was delivered not from Canterbury Cathedral, which like other churches is closed, but from his own kitchen as he stayed at home to observe social distancing regulations put in place by the Government. 

Speaking of the power of hope to give courage and "nourish our minds in dark times", the Archbishop urged people to see beyond the pandemic and dream of what the nation's common life might look like in the future.

"Cynicism tells us that all will go on as before. Despair tells us that the road is coming to an end. Fear tells us to look after ourselves," he said. 

"Imaginative hope gives us a level-headed courage and a grand ambition when it is based on what we know to be true."

He continued: "Which brings us to today, Easter Day 2020. Who does not feel the shock of the last weeks?

"So many have suffered from the virus, been in hospital, or mourn someone who is gone. We were probably shocked as the Prime Minister went into intensive care. We pray for him and his family especially today.

"So many people right across the country are anxious about employment, food, are isolated from loved ones and feel that the future looks dark.

"People right across the Globe feel the same uncertainty, fear, despair and isolation. But you are not alone." 

Recalling the experience of the women, who went to the tomb in the dark and "found the light and hope of Christ risen from the dead", the Archbishop said the resurrection was a reminder that Christians could dare to have "unreasonable hope". 

"In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have a hope that is surer than stone; than any architecture," he said. 

"Even in the dark days of this Easter we can feed on hope. We can dream of what our country and our world will look like after the pandemic.

"There will still be wickedness and war, poverty and persecution, greed and grasping. There always has been; always will be.

"Yet in the resurrection of Jesus God lights a fire which calls us to justice, to live in humble generosity, to transform our societies." 

He went on to say that the world would not be the same after the pandemic as he called for a "resurrection of our common life". 

"After so much suffering, so much heroism from key workers and the NHS, so much effort, once this epidemic is conquered here and round the world, we cannot be content to go back to what was before as if all is normal," he said. 

"There needs to be a resurrection of our common life, something that links to the old, but is different and more beautiful.

"We must dream it because it is the gift of God. Then we must build it in partnership with God.

"In the new life of the resurrection of Jesus, we dare to have faith in life before death. We hope, because of the resurrection."