An Easter message from the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave:
It doesnt seem such a great time to be around just now, if we are honest. Violent crime is daily reported from our cities. Our political processes seem paralysed. Antisemitism, Islamophobia and hate crime continually resurface. People bitterly divided in their views insult and mock one another on social media. Our environmental crisis deepens inexorably … and so one could go on, and on. It is not surprising that so many feel anxious, disillusioned or fearful of our present state, and look back to better times, despairing of the future.
Two people were feeling pretty much like that two thousand years ago, trudging along a road near Jerusalem. We had hoped that we had found somebody who would restore our kingdom, they said to a stranger who joined them. We had hoped … what sad words those are, but how accurately they sum up the feelings of so many people today.
But the wonder of Easter is, that all that negativity changed through those two peoples encounter with the stranger. Their hearts burned within them as he spoke to them of hope and a new future. He opened their eyes to new life when he broke bread with them, and they went back to the city full of joy. He had showed them that death, despair and decay did not have the last word. They knew that he had passed from death to life, and he wanted to take them with him on the same journey.
That message of hope still echoes in our own society, and it still challenges us to bring new life and new possibilities into our tired world. We can take simple actions to help restore our kingdom: take the time and trouble to get to know someone from a different background to ourselves; listen carefully and respectfully to views with which we strongly disagree; look out for a neighbour who is hurting and care for them; help out at our foodbank or night shelter; make green choices in our lifestyle to reduce, reuse and recycle … and so one could go on, and on. When we act in these ways, we are helping to bring into the world the new life and hope which Easter promises to us all.
Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave
Bishop of Lichfield