A changeless God: Bishop Michael's Easter Message
The Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave's, Easter Message:
Beasts have been much in the atmosphere recently – the Beast from the East, followed by a mini-beast, and at the time I write this, the possibility of yet another spell of ice and snow around Easter. The weather has been changeable indeed, and not the weather only: in our society and in our world, the pace of change seems to accelerate all the time, and its direction become ever more uncertain. This can be profoundly unsettling, especially for the most vulnerable and defenceless among us.
In the events of Holy Week and Easter, we see people’s attitudes change at a bewildering rate. One day, the crowds are acclaiming Jesus as king and waving palms of victory; five days later, they are screaming for his death. At the supper table, his friends share a loving meal with him and pledge their loyalty; immediately afterwards in the garden they abandon him. But what does not change is his trust in God, and God rewards that on the third day by raising up his dead body to life.
The deepest message of Easter is this: that God’s care for us will never change, and his purposes will never be defeated. During the freezing, biting cold days of early March, I was walking with a small group of Christians on a pilgrimage from Shrewsbury to Lichfield. Facing the icy blasts of the Beast from the East, we learned a lot about the changeability of nature. But we learned more about the changeless power of God who never abandons us. When I light the great Easter candle this year, I will say the words: ‘Christ, yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega, all time belongs to him and all ages’. In those words may you find hope and reassurance this Easter.
Meanwhile, the Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Right Revd Mark Rylands, who announced earlier this month that he will depart the diocese for a parish role in the Diocese of Exeter in the summer, preached at a packed Chrism Eucharist service at Lichfield Cathedral on Maundy Thursday.
Read his sermon, titled Good People Do Bad Things, here.
Photos from the service and a video of the bishops reaffirming their vows using British Sign Language (BSL) are on the diocesan Facebook page.