Easter message from the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan:
Two stories in the news recently illustrate for me in an astonishing / illuminating way the meaning of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus. A Jesuit priest called Father Francis in the city of Homs in Syria was shot dead. He had refused to abandon his small Christian congregation and been with them over the last three years in spite of being besieged, having little food and being in constant danger because of shellfire.
He said that just as he had been with people during the good times, he now wanted to be in solidarity with them in their pain even if it meant losing his life.
Christians believe that in Jesus Christ, God identifies Himself with humanity in as full a way as it is possible for God to be identified with humanity and that in Jesus the stands in solidarity with the human race, willing to endure suffering and death, Jesus refuses to abandon his task of proclaiming the kingdom of God when it becomes obvious that if he continues, he will be put to death. God is willing to endure suffering, torture and even death itself because of His love for humanity.
The second story is of a Rwandan Tutsi woman, whose hand was amputated and baby killed by a Hutu tribesman 20 years ago during the genocide in that country. The Hutu, Emmanuel by name, kneeled in front of his victim, Alice, and asked for her forgiveness. Alice had lost some 24 family members during this time and had been left for dead by Emmanuel. She decided to forgive him, hard though it was.
The first message of the risen Jesus to His disciples is the assurance of His peace. The very people who had fled from Him during His hour of greatest need were now the people to be entrusted with His gospel. As a result of His forgiveness, that act transformed their lives. Had He chided them instead, there would be no good news to proclaim.
Solidarity and forgiveness sum up the meaning of Easter and when one sees these values exemplified, one begins to realise the significance of what it means to believe in the God of Jesus.
The Archbishop will be preaching at Llandaff Cathedral on Easter Sunday. The service starts at 11am. All welcome.