We must move beyond outrage at the barbaric atrocities in the world today and take responsibility for helping those whose lives have been crushed.
That is the Easter message of the Church in Wales’ lead bishop, John Davies, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, who calls on us to be ‘bearers of the resurrection’ for those with no hope.
Bishop John highlights the Palm Sunday bombing at two Coptic churches in Egypt by a ‘loveless and barbaric’ ideology and says that being a Christian comes at a high cost in some parts of the world.
They take risks, he says, because of their faith and their hope for a better way of life. It is our responsibility, says Bishop John, not just to be outraged by the suffering of those whose lives are destroyed and the ‘daunting catalogue of human need worldwide’ but to support them and to encourage those confronting the ‘dark forces which daily disfigure so many lives’.
Bishop John will be preaching on Easter Sunday at Brecon Cathedral. The service starts at 11am and all are welcome.
The photo above shows Bishop John at Llandaff Cathedral next to the stone marking the spot where a bomb fell and devastated the Cathedral during World War Two.
Bishop John’s full Easter message follows:
‘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.
+ John Swansea & Brecon