Easter: victory despite pain

26 April 2011

by Ed Beavan

ARCHBISHOPS across the Anglican Communion called on Christians to place their hope in Christ’s resur­rection this Easter, despite recent natural disasters and continuing injustice in the world.

In an ecumenical letter to heads of other Churches and communions, the Archbishop of Canterbury urged fel­low leaders to remember Christ’s ultimate victory, even though “violence and suffering seem to increase daily”.

Referring to the earthquake in Japan, the persecution of Christians across the globe, and wars and pandemics in Africa, Dr Williams said that there could be “no doubt about the final purpose of God in the world”: “However terrible the conflict in the present moment, the truth of God is not in danger of defeat.”

In his Easter Day sermon in Canterbury Cathedral, Dr Williams spoke of joy experienced through the Easter story, which did not “guarantee a permanently happy society, in the sense of a society free from tension, pain or disappointment”, but affirmed that “there is a deeper level of reality . . . where love and reconciliation are ceaselessly at work.”

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said in his Easter message that God was “always on the side of those who are suffering”.

The Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier, also picked up on this theme. He said: “Jesus is a fellow sufferer who understands our pain,” and God is with all those who suffer, and is present in the “selfless love and care” of rescue workers and hospital staff during natural disasters.

The Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd Alan Harper, remembered the murder of Constable Ronan Kerr in Omagh (News, 8 April), and called for the “word of peace” to “bless the lips of everyone in Ireland”.

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, baptised 19 Christians from various denominations outside York Minster on Holy Saturday. In his Easter sermon, he used the life cycle of a dragonfly as an analogy for the resur­rection. He urged Christians to “make Christ visible: standing alongside all those whose lives are crushed by the heavy burden of financial pressures, unemployment, homelessness, poor housing, poverty, and gender-based violence.”

The Prime Minister also released an Easter message, speaking of “the enor­mous contribution Christianity has made to our country”. He said that “for millions of us” the teachings of Jesus “are just as relevant now as they were in his lifetime”. Easter “reminds us all to follow our conscience and ask not what we are entitled to, but what we can do for others”.

In the United States, President Barack Obama held his second Easter prayer breakfast at the White House, and spoke of Christ’s extending “to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection”.

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