Hope for our diocese
Easter is the greatest ever story of hope! Jesus’s story is one where his resurrection smashes through the despair of death. It’s a story of life overcoming death and goodness triumphing over evil.
And my word we need hope!
We are surrounded by tales of woe - because life is tough. We can’t switch off to what’s happening round about us – that would be to deny our lived reality. But without hope, we may find ourselves spiraling into despondency. The ongoing cost of living crisis is biting hard. So many of us are making tough decisions to try to mitigate sinking into debt, and to compound this, we hear talk of decline and financial challenge in our churches and in our diocese. The very places designed and intended for blessing and singing the song of Easter hope, risk becoming obstacles, locking us in the emptiness and despondency of Holy Saturday.
For the disciples, the crucifixion of Jesus, plunged them into grief and despair. On Holy Saturday it probably felt like there was no way out and no hope. Dreams were shattered; they were at once without direction or purpose. Everything would have felt meaningless. Some walked away. I wonder how this resonates for so many of us in our churches and beyond.
For us, we are resurrection people. We know the story of Jesus overcoming death itself as the one who is The Resurrection; of his coming alongside those who were walking away, so that they would return and sing the song of life overcoming death and of God’s mighty deeds in Jesus. We know the story that God is outworking his purpose in the world and that by the gift of the Holy Spirit in us, we the baptised are participants in Jesus’ mission, today and tomorrow and until he comes in glory.
Our churches all have stories of hope because Jesus is in the church. Where Jesus is present we can expect to see the transformation and signs of resurrection. Our diocese, too, has a story of hope emerging from those engaging with the Fit for Mission mission priorities: introducing people to Jesus, growing Christian leaders, deepening discipleship and working for justice. Stories of hope are emerging in every worshipping community; stories of kindness; stories of activity and activism and stories of conversion.
All this is bound up in the story of the one who was crucified for us; who rose on Easter Sunday and who equipped his disciples to sing the song of God’s wondrous love for humanity and the world. Today, as disciples of Jesus, we are tasked with the same mandate to serve in his name, to call people back to the Cross of Christ so that all may know the love and life-giving-ness of the Resurrection and by Jesus’ love mingled with ours, to show that love in the world.
This Easter, I pray you may know the hope of Christ in fresh and palpable ways so that your heart is set on fire with love for Him, and as you share this same hope in the community you love and among the people you serve.
Christ is Risen and his Spirit is with us.