My prayer this Easter is an ancient one: may justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
In the face of such injustice around the world, and with so many living with the consequences of unrighteousness, that prayer is heartfelt.
The observance of Lent for the past 40 days has felt very precious this year: for example, I have been praying with our new diocesan Community of Prayer - derby.anglican.org/2027 - on Wednesday mornings and Thursday evenings, and fasting not only from food but from energy usage.
These things have offered me the opportunity to be generous with my time and attention as well as money towards those most vulnerable in our communities, those at risk across the world, the crisis facing our natural world.
We travel through Holy Week, remembering Jesus’ last days leading to his crucifixion, very mindful of the consequences today, as 2000 years ago, of violent occupation; of forced migration; of personal and local impact of global issues for employment, standards of living, access to essentials like fuel and food; of breakdown of trust with those in power.
This year in Holy Week many of us share a sense of loss, of betrayal, of uncertainty and fear.
The Bible tells us Jesus was ‘a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’.
We sometimes say, when we don’t know what to say, “God knows what’s going on / God knows what you must be feeling / God knows what we can do”. This year, Easter reminds us that is true.
God does know because Jesus shared our life – every bit of it including the most mucky, difficult and painful bits.
This year, with all that is going on in the world and in our lives, we might be tempted to despair but, as we celebrate Easter once again, I have hope.
My hope is in Jesus: the God who hears the cries of the afflicted and brings justice to the orphan and the oppressed, the God who bore the consequence of the world’s sin on the cross and rose from the dead demonstrating that even death cannot defeat His love.
In the sermon, written by Bishop Malcolm, in the Cathedral on Maundy Thursday, he reflected:
“Whatever has brought us to today, and whatever state God finds us in, the oil of his grace and mercy is here for us to make us useful in his service once again. To make us a blessing, equipping us to bring Good News for the poor, release for the captives, and freedom for the oppressed.”
The good news of Easter is that Jesus’ death and resurrection are not just events in the past, but life transforming for us now – and into the future.
Jesus’ victory over sin and death is for us, and for those around us.
Sharing and living out, every day and everywhere, the difference Jesus’ life-giving love offers is the purpose of every Christian.
This Easter, I pray you know the presence and peace of the crucified and risen Christ, and the joy of his everlasting life.