Easter Messages from the Bishops of Worcester and Dudley
From Bishop John:
Easter is more than ever relevant this year. That’s because Easter is about reconciliation.
I guess we are all desperate for reconciliation in Ukraine, for peace with justice there. It seems a long way off. Fear and anxiety stalk our communities as people worry about what’s happening and whether the conflict will escalate, alongside other worries about emerging from the pandemic and about the unprecedented cost of living crisis we are facing.
If Easter is about reconciliation, about God reconciling the whole creation to himself though the death and resurrection of Jesus, about making peace with us so that we are able to make peace with one another and live in love and charity, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of it.
We should not be surprised that peace and reconciliation seem a far distant prospect. Jesus warned his disciples that ‘you will hear of wars and rumours of wars’. He tells them not to be alarmed. He says that nation will rise up against nation and that there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
And what are we to do in the face of all this? We are to stand firm; firm, as Easter people, in the love that God has commanded us to show one another, knowing that on the cross Jesus enters into human suffering and in his resurrection gives us the assurance that his love, in the end, will triumph. No-one ever promised us that life would be easy, but we can have hope; hope, through Easter, in the eternal and invincible love of God.
From Bishop Martin:
Christ is Risen. Alleluia! I wish you and your family every blessing at this Easter time.
On Good Friday Christians remember the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. On Easter Sunday, we celebrate his victory over death. On that third day after he was killed, the risen Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene, then to his twelve disciples, and then to hundreds of others. As Christians we believe the risen Jesus is with us still through the Holy Spirit within each one of us and at the heart of the church and of the world. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
But we live in a deeply broken world. Climate change is happening. Covid is real. Refugees have long fled from wars across the globe, from Syria to Afghanistan, from Somalia to Yemen. And now Ukraine, here in Europe, as millions of women, children and old people are forced to leave their land and their home.
I connect with several hundred church communities across Dudley and Worcestershire, and people are opening their hearts and their homes to those in need. They are being generous, even though prices are going up, even though all of us are facing rising costs for food and fuel, still people are reaching out to help those in need.
This is the true spirit of Easter. As Jesus was dying on the cross, he spoke to his mother and his disciple John. He asked Mary to take John as a son, and John to take Mary into his own home as if she were his own mother. Jesus did not forget those who would be left behind, and nor should we.
In the end, Easter reminds us that Love is stronger than hate. Love is stronger than death. In the end, Love wins!
Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!