Easter message Father Andrew Cain: ‘This is an opportunity for the church to renew its understanding of the world’
PUBLISHED: 08:00 31 March 2013
Father Andrew Cain, of St James Church in West Hampstead, gives his Easter message to Ham&High readers.
Easter celebrates the greatest truth of the Christian faith – the solidarity of God with us in our lives, in life, in death, in all the rich complexity of what it means to be human.
In Jesus we see the face of God – and through Jesus’ life, God knows us.
This is a mystical reality that transforms our relationship with God, with His world and with each other.
In our celebration of the events of Holy Week – Jesus’ proclamation as King by the people of Jerusalem, His betrayal by a friend, His unjust suffering and death - Christians contemplate again God’s profound knowledge of what we are capable of doing.
Jesus’ life expresses God’s invitation to none the less draw closer to Him, and Jesus’ death is an expression of indissoluble commitment – the ultimate sign that God will allow nothing to separate us from Him, not even our own fears and failings.
(Romans 8:38) Jesus’ resurrection, His defeat of death, and the explosion of renewed life that is God’s free gift to us, is a call to see our world in a new light – to know it as beautiful, blest and filled with God’s love, and to know ourselves as deeply cherished by Him.
This knowledge is ours, to set us free from whatever burdens or fears we have, and to help us celebrate more deeply the goodness in life. Christ is risen and the world is fresh and new.
To see the world in these terms makes it glow with life and promise, even if viewed through our own struggles.
I love Easter, it celebrates the closeness of God to us, the true value of our world, the possibilities of life and the fulfilment of the promise for which Jesus was content to surrender His life.
Easter remakes us, and that remaking – called in Christian language ‘redemption’ – is for everyone and everything.
Those of us with faith in Jesus can know it, and we try to live our lives in the light of the knowledge of God as shown by Jesus’ life and teaching (2 Corinthians 4:6).
But it is true for everyone, even if not yet perceived.
It is perhaps undeniable that the Church needs that light of knowledge at the moment, after rough years of self-inflicted damage and loss of esteem.
Our leaders have often failed to admit failings and seek forgiveness, and have not demonstrated the new life that Easter brings.
The appointments of a new Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis and a new Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Justin, so close to the core festival of our faith, is a perfect moment of grace, and an opportunity for the Church to renew its understanding of the world and relationship with it.
We give thanks for our new Easter life, and let us pray that the Church may truly celebrate God’s joyous, sacrificial love.
May our leaders live with renewed integrity, with an honesty that seeks forgiveness and healing, and a better relationship with the world.