As Christians keep Holy Week, and celebrate Easter this year it is in the context of a very troubled world, and the unfolding tragedy in the Ukraine. War is a terrible reminder of how fragile peace can be, how easily the lives of millions can be thrown into chaos, how vulnerable so many are, and how awful the losses. Others are deeply worried about the rising cost of living, especially fuel and food, and see the months ahead as another hill to climb.
Holy Week and Easter are full of rich images and ideas, and yet for me this year two stand out clearly. On Good Friday Jesus will hang on the Cross, his arms outstretched in love for a world which rejected him, in the presence of those who either betrayed or abandoned him. On the face of it utter failure, a dream of justice and peace, of love and hope that ended in tatters. Then on Easter morning at dawn we gather as a Church and we light the Paschal candle from a small fire. Just as the women recognized Jesus in the garden, we recognize Jesus in this light. We are the people who see the pain and suffering of the Cross, but affirm the hope of Easter day, the truth that the light will always conquer the dark, and by those outstretched arms we not defeated, they remain open for all who seek to follow the King of Peace, He who through love defeated not just this world's hate and hurt, but showed how even death itself is defeated through light and love.
Our prayers are for all who feel their lives have been too much in the darkness of the world lately, especially all in the Ukraine. Yet the light of hope is everywhere; in welcoming homes, in generous support, in the defiance and hope of so many. We have a very great hope, Christ is Risen, Happy Easter, the light shines in the darkness and the darkness will never overcome it - Amen.