Easter message: 'Ukraine, Child Q, Borders Bill, cost of living, conversion therapy – how we respond matters'

Bishop of Edmonton photo with Bishop of London and Richard Ratcliffe

The Bishop of Edmonton, Richard Ratcliffe and the Bishop of London - Credit: Diocese of London

Some years ago, a London youth worker commented that “it takes a village to raise a child, but if rejected, that same child will burn the village just to feel its warmth”.  

These words continue to haunt me, especially as we approach Easter, a time where Christians speak of hope. I certainly believe that God’s delight is rooted in love for everyone, for God has no favourites. Or to put it another way, you are God’s favourite. So, how do we respond to the chilling words from the youth worker, particularly when we see death and destruction daily on our newsfeeds? 

Just before Easter, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. It is a striking story. Jesus weeps when confronted by the raw grief of Lazarus’s sister, Mary. Lazarus is commanded to come out of the tomb and a few days later is seen enjoying a dinner party with Jesus.  

What is extraordinary is that Lazarus never speaks, and some suggest that Lazarus cannot speak, that he lives in silence. Yet out of everyone, Jesus chooses to raise Lazarus.  

The Rt Rev Rob Wickham, Bishop of Edmonton

The Bishop of Edmonton believes that we must respond to what we see around us - Credit: Diocese of London

Furthermore, after the great events of Easter, Jesus takes Peter for a walk on the beach.  Peter has just denied Jesus three times. Yet, in a moment of love and forgiveness, Jesus asks Peter three times, do you love me?  Peter responds yes, but in reply to the first question, Jesus commands Peter to feed my lambs.  

Both these stories are profound, as Jesus’ actions and his words speak of a priority of being good news for the poorest, the least powerful and the most marginalised. For Jesus, it matters. Therefore, how do we, each being God’s favourite, live out this preference? 

Well, perhaps the answers lie in what we see around, and how we respond.

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This is why support for the plight of Ukrainian (and other) refugees matters, why challenging the inhumane Nationality and Borders Bill matters, why banning conversion therapy matters, why locally urging the (now successful) release of Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe matters, why challenging adultification and eradicating strip searching of children, particularly of Black children like Child Q matters, why listening to and responding to the cries of mothers who choose to heat or eat matters.  It all matters.  

It all matters, because you matter.  The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus happens because you matter, and the Easter hope implores us to respond, because God so loved the world that God was generous. It all matters. 

The Rt Rev Rob Wickham is the Bishop of Edmonton, and is responsible for the four north London Boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield and Haringey.