The Bishop of Bangor, the Right Rev’d Andy John, is releasing two Easter messages this week.
In a written message, Bishop Andy tries to imagine the agony of the relatives of the passenger on the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, along with the grief that we all experience during our lives. He contrasts this with the love and hope which is at the heart of the resurrection, which Christians celebrate on Easter Day (next Sunday)
For the first time, Bishop Andy has also released an Easter video message. Filmed at Bangor Cathedral, St. Seiriol’s Well, and Penmon beach (both on Anglesey), it follows the story of Jesus’ death, resurrection and appearances after his resurrection and examines the meaning of these events.
Bishop Andy’s written message is in italic below and the video message can be viewed here.
Bishop Andy’s Easter Message 2014
We can barely imagine the agony experienced by relatives of those lost on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The delays in communicating and mistakes made by the authorities have hardly helped matters. Perhaps the most agonizing part has been the not knowing, even as hopes of finding loved ones alive receded.
Grief is something we experience when we lose something or someone precious. It can feel like the end of the world, but an ending that is repeated over and over again. We may struggle to understand our loss and the grief can seem all consuming. The raw emotions can quickly take on a momentum of their own, adding to a sense of everything spinning out of control.
On the first Easter eve, Jesus’ followers felt that their world had ended and their hopes destroyed. When we read how Jesus was snatched from them, brutalized and then murdered, we can begin to understand their grief and despair. Then the utterly unexpected burst upon them with uncontrollable power and energy as Jesus rose to new life. At dawn on that first Easter day, despair and grief was blown away by resurrection hope.
Of course hope does not obliterate the pain or erases the scars, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. For those first Christians, hope was born out of their experience of God, an experience that God’s love had broken the power of death. When they went on to face terrible injustices and threats to their own lives, they found they had sufficient strength to hold them steady and faithful to the end.
And that is how Jesus touches us still. In him we discover a love so extraordinary that it puts everything else into perspective, a love that holds us when times are hard, a love that keeps us safe when we would otherwise fall apart. That is the heart of resurrection hope – and I pray that this Easter it may touch and transform your life too.