Bishop’s Easter message

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THE island’s bishop has sent out an Easter message.

Bishop Robert Paterson’s message is below.

This has been a tough time for farmers in the west of the island, particularly those with animals on the mountains. We have been praying for them:

Good Shepherd,

we thank you for all who are involved in the farming communities of this island,

and pray that you will bring hope 

to those whose livelihoods may be at risk as a result of recent bad weather.

Help us all to appreciate the work they do

as stewards of your creation,

and enable us to find the means and the strength

to serve all who are in need.

For your glory

who laid down your life for us

and now live and reign with the Father and the Spirit,

one God for ever.  Amen.

No doubt many will also have been giving practical support and donations to the Isle of Man Agricultural Benevolent Trust can be sent care of Charles Fargher, Ballafreer House, Union Mills.

This comes at the same time as the financial crisis in Cyprus, and events in Syria have reached what even those resilient people acknowledge is breaking point – we would have broken far sooner.

The support of our churches for the Disasters Emergency Committee and other relief agencies working in Syria is greatly appreciated. The bishop provided this link

How does the Christian gospel speak into these human tragedies?

If it doesn’t, then it might be accused of being ‘pie in the sky when we die’.

I believe the good news of Christ is not only a promise of a new heaven but it is the best motive to act for a new earth. Take a look at some of the greatest social reformers of the last two millennia: so many were people motivated not by a secular desire to make things better, but by a faith-inspired longing for the flourishing of the whole of God’s creation.

What, then, do Christians believe about how that flourishing comes about?

It happens when a disordered world and, in particular, our mis-directed human motives are restored to harmony with God.

Christians do not believe this can happen simply by trying to do better or living in a Peter Pan world where we all think happy thoughts of what might be improved. No, our radical disorientation calls for the radical solution we call Easter.

The gospel affirms that Jesus of Nazareth was not simply a good man, but he is in person God’s very speech, the word that is behind everything in creation.

That makes his crucifixion not just a local disturbance in a troublesome city of the Roman Empire, but a matter of cosmic importance.

In the destruction of his body God’s son willingly took on himself once and for all the disorder that defaces and destroys what is good and prayed for our forgiveness: ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ In his resurrection he implanted the seeds of renewal and hope, and commanded his people to be the agents of love.

This powerful motivation enables us to rise far above the petty squabbles that sometimes so debase the Church. The message of Easter is the message of forgiveness and new life, of hope and new possibilities for a broken world.

The Lord be with you as you experience his resurrection,

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