Easter is about liberation, not dogma, says Dr Sentamu

07 April 2010

by Ed Beavan

THE Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, expressed his sadness that millions of children did not know the true meaning of Easter during his Easter Day sermon at York Minster. Furthermore, people had become disillusioned with mat­erialism, and were “hungry for liberation from the drudgery of life and all that enslaves the human spirit”.

He called on Christians to stop arguing about dogma and to live as a “free and transformed community, drawing others into the light of the reality that Jesus who died, is risen, and is alive with us”. The Church had veiled the good news with “morality, dogmatic statements, interminable debates and services”.

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, spoke in Llandaff Cathedral of “resurrection mo­ments” that still occur today, such as “when parents find it in their hearts to forgive their children’s murderers; where church communities cease to look after just their own interests and defend the rights of others”.

He gave the example of a new Church Army project in Aberdare, Valley of Hope, for homeless people, ex-offenders, and substance-abusers, as a “powerful example of the church meeting people in desperate straits and renewing them, offering them skills and hope, a chance of resur­rection”.

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Revd David Chillingworth, joined seven other Scottish Christian leaders in signing an Easter open letter to the Government, calling for the money earmarked for the renewal of the Trident nuclear-weapon system to be spent instead on “tackling injustice, poverty and inequality”, which “would lead to a safer world for all”.

The Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd Alan Harper, said that there were “immense burdens” afflicting the country’s national life, referring to the RC child-abuse scandal, polit­ical corruption, and the “calamitous state” of the economy.

But he said that he still saw the fruits of resurrection daily in the acts of people such as volunteers helping those “crushed by the crisis of debt”, and in the lives of the people he met week by week.

In an Easter message from Downing Street, Gordon Brown praised the work of the Church in the UK, and described it as “the con­science of our country”. He praised Christians for their efforts to secure justice for the poor, saying that he was grateful to Christians for ensuring that the “public square is more than a place of transaction and exchange, and remains always, as it should be, a place of shared values and social justice”.

The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, talked in St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, about the problem of loneliness. It was to be expected in today’s society, he said, “given the secularist philosophy we have em­braced”, which was “a recipe for loneliness and the path to a very lonely old age”.

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Most Revd Fred Hiltz, called for prayer for Christians in Jerusalem.

More than 60 South African church leaders and theologians, including Jews and Muslims, sent a message expressing solidarity with Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land.

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