Bishop's letter: The joy of Easter

4th April 2023

Bishop Ruth

As April begins, we mark it with the Palm Sunday procession, the welcoming of Jesus into Jerusalem amongst much jubilation and a sense of impending revolution. There were those who expected Jesus to be the next rebel leader who would rouse the local people to turn against their Roman overlords. Political populism at its height! In their enthusiasm, limbs of trees were broken to pave the way for this new hero. 

However, it didn’t take much for the crowd to turn around and change its tune. Those palm leaves torn from branches to throw in his path have become the palm crosses we hold today. Symbolising for us the way in which the week ends. Fronds of living trees now dried and woven to form the cruel instrument of death on which Christ suffered.

Many of our churches are now engaged with rewilding their church grounds, many are seeking to gain awards with Eco Church and are looking for new ways of reducing or capturing carbon. There would be horror at the thought of denuding our trees! In fact, parishes are discovering opportunities to partner with others to plant new trees on spare glebe land.

Sometimes though it can feel to us that the environmental crisis is too great a one to solve. Yet the message of Easter shows us that when things seem nigh on impossible it is then that we glimpse the grace of God at work. God’s way of overcoming evil was not to fight a small act of resistance against a Roman invasion but rather to combat sin itself. The death of Jesus was the ultimate battle to overcome that which has separated humanity from knowing the extent of God’s love for each and every one of us.

The natural world around us is a wonderful illustration of how death is not the end. The environment can be devastated by flood, fire and human carelessness and yet new life can begin again. The joy of Easter is that the story doesn’t end in death but opens a new beginning for us all through the resurrection of Christ.

May you know the life and love of Christ this Easter!

Bishop Ruth

This letter was first featured in the April edition of the Manna mailing.

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