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Bishop of Salisbury Easter Message 2012

by Robert Shuler last modified 06 Apr, 2012 10:09 PM

BBC Radio Wilts Easter 2012

Good morning and a happy Easter to you.

If you’ve eaten a hot cross bun from the many lovely bakeries across Wiltshire this week you’ll have seen the cross on the top. The spices inside are to remind us of the spices used to anoint the body of Jesus when he was laid in the tomb, the yeast  that he rose again and the fruit is the fruit of the resurrection. Or an Easter egg is like a sealed tomb. Crack it open, roll the stone away, and there’s the yolk, the body wrapped in the egg white, like grave clothes. New life comes from an egg and the taste of the resurrection is sweet so of course our eggs are chocolate and we all want to taste them.

In various ways we’ve nearly all been telling the stories at the centre of Christianity even if you haven’t been to church. At one level it can seem a childish story but it is seriously adult because the blood and nails are naked wickedness and a real person died on a cross through undeserved suffering.

Last weekend, at the time of the elections in Burma, I heard Aung San Suu Kyi on the radio.  As a political prisoner, for so many years imprisoned in her own home, she talked about her passion, about what she loves, and she said that the word passion means suffering. The people and the things that mean most to us, that we love and want to give ourselves to fully, have our undying commitment. So we stick with them and don’t run away when there is trouble. Our loves cause us to suffer; there’s a price to be paid for what and who matters to us. 

I think this is universal experience. We all know it to be true. When we stop to think about it, death is not the worst that can happen to us. Far worse would be living as though nothing matters to us or as though everything and everyone else only existed to serve me. That would, for me anyway, be hell.

I’m often struck by people visiting a dying relative in a hospice. They are usually anxious when the person is admitted. The end is in sight. But they usually come away talking about the love and care they and their relative have experienced. Often they say, “It was so good I wish we could live like that all the time”.

The Christian Gospel points to the way in which love which is sacrificial transforms the world. It is why the Passion Stories of Christ, his love and suffering, are the heart of  Christianity.

The death and resurrection of Jesus, the man in whom we see God, asserts that goodness, love, light and life are stronger than evil, hatred, darkness and death.

It is the greatest story ever told and the passionate commitment of any Christian is to try and live by it.

I hope you will have a joyful Easter.


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