Bishop John’s Easter message of love and hope

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“There was hardly one whole corpse to be seen.”

Horrific words such as these, accompanied by graphic pictures, formed part of news reports about the aftermath of recent bombings of two Coptic churches in Egypt. A loveless and barbaric ideology ensured that Palm Sunday songs of ‘Hosanna’ on the lips of worshippers in those churches were brutally and instantly changed to screams of agony and pain. Such remains the cost of being a Christian in some parts of the world. Such is, for some, the price of being a disciple of the one who came to bring life in all its fullness to a divided and faltering world. Yet they still take the risk of bearing that cost and paying that price. Why? The simple answer is twofold: ‘love and hope’. Love for Jesus who demonstrates that there is a better way for life, a noble way, a decent way, a way that takes human beings beyond merely existing into the realm of living; and hope that this way of living might become a reality.

Believer or non-believer, none could argue that the example and teachings of Jesus are anything but noble, decent and life-fulfilling. So, when we witness the love and future hopes of others being crushed, when we hear of cries of joy being changed to cries of anguish, when we see images of bodies torn apart by ruthless bombing and when we try to grasp something of the daunting catalogue of human need world-wide, we must not only be outraged, we must also be driven to try and be part of the answer to prayers made for that better way of living to become real.

Whatever you believe happened on the first Easter Day, you can surely interpret the surrounding stories as hope-filled expressions that love and life can always rise above hate and death. If that resonates with you as it does with me, then I urge you to share in both the responsibility of supporting those in so many places of so much need, and of encouraging those who work to confront those dark forces which daily disfigure so many lives in today’s challenged world. In doing so, we will, knowingly or unknowingly, be agents of the Risen Jesus, and bearers of resurrection for those whose hopes are gone and whose lives are crushed. I wish you a hope-filled and loving Easter.