Reconciliation, generosity and love in the bishops’ Easter messages
Bishops across the region spoke of reconciliation, generosity and helping those in need in their Easter messages.
In his Easter message, the Bishop of Lichfield, the Most Reverend Dr Michael Ipgrave, said he was inspired by the generosity of others despite the difficulties around us.
He addressed the cost of living crisis affecting many people, but praised the generosity of so many in helping others.
He said: “‘O Generous Love’ is one of my favorite hymns that we sing at Easter. But can we talk about generosity in our present time?
“Fuel costs and household bills are rising rapidly; there are so many needs in our world and so many claims on our gifts that some people speak of ‘compassion fatigue; when households across our country are struggling to cope, is it fair to ask them to think about generosity?
“Certainly times are tough for many in our society.”
The Bishop explained how acts of generosity had been on display at all times, such as more than 150,000 people registering to host Ukrainian refugees and other donations made by the Diocese of Lichfield.
He said: “Churches in our cash-strapped diocese have raised thousands of pounds to support our companion diocese of Matlosane in South Africa.
“Every day, often unnoticed, people who have little for themselves give out of pure kindness to those whose needs are even greater than their own.
“Even though we know our own wants and needs all too well, as human beings we recognize the importance of giving to others, even if we are often embarrassed to admit it.
“I believe that our instinct for generosity comes from the fact that we are made in the image of a God who is immeasurably generous in his love and concern for us.”
The bishop also said the Easter message and the resurrection of Jesus was an example of how love will always triumph over hate and how it is more blessed to give than to take.
He said: “Sometimes the needs of our world are shockingly clear and shocking in their intensity, as we see in Ukraine.
“Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight, as young families or elderly people having to choose between heat and food in the face of rising bills.
“We always have the opportunity to respond from our hearts, even if our own resources are limited – often it is the poor who give most generously.
“And when we do, we choose to live the resurrection life that Easter invites everyone to.
“To live like this asks a lot of us, but it can also bring us deep satisfaction, so that we learn to pray: ‘Teach us, good God, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count, to fight and disregard wounds, toil and seek no rest, toil and ask for no reward except to know that we are doing your will”.
The Bishop of Worcester, the Very Reverend Dr John Inge, said Easter was more relevant than ever because it was about reconciliation.
He said: “We are all, I think, desperate for reconciliation in Ukraine: for peace and justice there.
“It seems a long way off. Fear and anxiety haunt our communities as people worry about what is happening and whether the conflict will escalate, as well as other worries about the exit from the pandemic and the crisis. unprecedented cost of living we face.
“If Easter is about reconciliation, about God reconciling all creation to himself through the death and resurrection of Jesus, to making peace with us so that we can make peace with each other and live in peace. ‘love and charity, there doesn’t seem to be any proof of it.’
He added: “We should not be surprised that peace and reconciliation seem a long way off. Jesus warned his disciples that “you will hear of wars and rumors of wars”.
“He tells them not to be alarmed. He says that nation will rise against nation and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
“And what do we have to do in the face of all this? We must stand firm, firm in the love that God has commanded us to show to each other, knowing that on the cross Jesus enters into human suffering and that his resurrection gives us the assurance that his love will eventually triumph .
“No one ever promised us that life would be easy, but we can hope, hope in the eternal and invincible love of God.”
The Bishop of Dudley, the Most Reverend Martin Gorick, wished everyone all Easter blessings and spoke about the message of Easter and Jesus Christ.
He said: “On Good Friday, Christians remember the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
“On Easter Sunday we celebrate his victory over death. On this third day after his death, the risen Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene, then to his twelve disciples, then to hundreds more.
“As Christians, we believe that the risen Jesus is always with us through the Holy Spirit in each of us and in the heart of the church and the world. He is truly risen. Hallelujah.”
The Bishop also spoke of living in a broken world and the problems many face, but also the generosity many have shown.
He said: “Climate change is happening. Covid is real. Refugees have long fled wars across the world, from Syria to Afghanistan, from Somalia to Yemen.
“And now Ukraine, here in Europe, as millions of women, children and the elderly are forced from their land and their homes.
“I am in contact with several hundred church communities across Dudley and Worcestershire, and people are opening their hearts and homes to those in need.
“They are generous, even though prices are going up, even though we are all facing rising food and fuel costs, people are still reaching out to help those in need.
“This is the true spirit of Easter. As Jesus died on the cross, he spoke to his mother and his disciple John.
“He asked Mary to take John as his son, and John to take Mary into his own home as if she were his own mother. Jesus did not forget those who would be left behind, and neither did we.
“Ultimately, Easter reminds us that love is stronger than hate. Love is stronger than death. In the end, love wins.”
“Hallelujah. Christ is risen. He is truly risen. Hallelujah.”