By Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton
The celebration of Easter touches something very deep in most human beings, both those who are not especially religious and those who are.
It is the hope that joy is more enduring than sorrow, that love is stronger than hatred, and that life is more powerful than death.
For many this at times seems like a very fragile hope, one to which we cling in the face of evidence to the contrary.
As we consider the conflicts and suffering which confront us in so many parts of the world, the very idea of the triumph of life and love over death and hatred might seem to be an impossible dream beyond our grasp.
The qualities and attitudes of mind and heart which marked every moment of Jesus’ life and which led him, courageously, to his death – qualities which we as his disciples are called to keep alive in our world today – might themselves seem merely the stuff of dreams with no connection to reality.
And yet, precisely because the attitudes of Jesus – simplicity, compassion, self-forgetfulness, forgiveness, humility – are so profoundly human, we must believe that they can be a part of the real world, not just part of an imaginary world.
For some, indeed, it is literally a “hope against hope” when everything we see around us, or within us, tells us that there is no reason to hope, and yet we still do.
To lose hope altogether, and to give up on life, is surely one of the saddest fates than can befall any human being. And yet, it seems, there is a spreading hopelessness, an emptiness, in our society which should concern us.
Christians believe it is God who creates this deep hope within us.
We also believe that God intends to see that hope fulfilled. The belief in the raising of Jesus from the dead is the ground of Christian hope and the source of our confidence in God’s love.
The story of the crucified and risen Jesus is the story of one who brought sight to the blind, food to the hungry, forgiveness to the repentant, and hope to the hopeless.
His followers are called to do the same today.
Certainly none of us alone can solve the terrible problems which confront our world at the moment. But each one of us can change ourselves – or rather open ourselves to the transforming power of the Lord working in us and through us.
As we change so will those around us. Change in our families, our friends, the Lord’s Church which we love, and the society of which we must remain an active part, will gradually begin to emerge. Things will be better than they are at the moment.
For Christians, especially this is not an “impossible dream”. Because of the resurrection of Christ, we believe that he is now present to us, ready to share everything he has – his simplicity and compassion, his forgiveness and humility, his self-forgetfulness and of course his intimate communion with his Father – with us. This is the gift of life he promises us. It is the gift we celebrate at Easter.
I hope that you and those you love experience something of this special gift of hope during these Easter days.