We have already linked to the ecumenical Easter Letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury. Here are links to, and extracts from, some of the many other Easter messages.
Beginning with the example of the people of Haiti, who “need to practice saying Alleluia” this year so that they can celebrate Easter in the midst of grief and darkness, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori calls on Episcopalians to stretch their spiritual muscles in order to “insist on resurrection everywhere we turn” in her 2010 Easter message.
“Christ is Risen, Christ is Risen; Tell it with a joyful voice”
Having made our journey through Holy Week, commemorating the events of the Lord’s passion, death and burial we come now to Easter and the joy of His Glorious Resurrection.
Sunday by Sunday throughout the great festival of Easter, we take delight in hearing those stories of how the risen Lord appeared to so many — greeting and calling them by name, opening the scriptures and teaching them, breaking bread in their midst, bestowing his peace, breathing the Holy Spirit into their hearts and then sending them into all the world. Alongside these wonderful stories are accounts of the earliest Christian preaching recorded in The Acts of the Apostles.
A belief in death and resurrection of Jesus is a decision of the mind and the heart. It is a faith choice. You can believe the witnesses who say that something remarkable occurred in the resurrection of Jesus from death – a resurrection that has gone on recreating the world ever since by the triumph of divine life over death, divine love over hate, and divine light over darkness. Or you can believe that the witnesses were mistaken and that life and death, love and hate, light and darkness are evenly matched and that there is no ultimate power for good that is stronger than the grave.
In a message on Youtube for Easter 2010, Archbishop Philip Freier invites you to be inspired by the lives of Hugh Evans, founder of the Oaktree Foundation and the Global Poverty Project, and Jessie Taylor, refugee advocate and lawyer. Their compassion and pursuit of justice have come from a living faith in the risen Christ.
When the Roman Emperor Constantine won a decisive battle at the Milvian Bridge in the year 312, he had a vision. Constantine thought he saw in the sky the Greek letters Chi-Rho – the first letters of the word Christ – with the words in hoc signo vincit – ‘in this sign, conquer’. Constantine won, and took control of the Roman Empire, bringing to an end the persecution of Christianity, and establishing it as a religio licita – a permitted religion, and then recognising it as the religion of the Roman Empire, even though he himself was not baptised until he was dying. The church historian, Eusebius of Caesarea, saw the conversion of Constantine as one of the great providential moments. Just as St Luke, at the end of the Acts of the Apostles, brings the Gospel to Rome, the political heart of the known world, so now the kingdoms of this world, and the Roman Empire in particular, ‘have become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ.’
Would that things were so simple. A millennium or more after Constantine a German monk, Martin Luther, saw the corruption of the church and, in part, traced it back to Constantine. Had the church captured the empire, or the empire captured the church? The relation between church and state has always been ambiguous.
Christ’s death and resurrection bring forgiveness to those with broken and ruptured lives and hope for a more just and humane society, the Bishop of Bangor says in his Easter message this year.
“There is no going back” says the Bishop of St Asaph as he reflects on the message of Easter this year. The symbol of the egg, so familiar at Easter, reminds us that there comes a time when “the chick bursts forth, and there’s no going back.” The resurrection of Jesus “is an invitation to us to embrace new life”.
Oscar Romero’s murder in El Salvador. He was murdered because he challenged the violence and oppression of those in positions of political power. He was slain by a goverment-sanctioned bullet to the chest as he said Mass in the humble monastery where he lived.
The story of Easter is told this year in a context where many of our key ‘institutions’ are under serious scrutiny – and it is right that it should be so. Institutions are necessary for the ordering of society, but they can take on a life of their own and become self-serving. That applies, of course, not only to the institutions of politics and society, but also – and equally – to the institutions of the church, which can be just as fallen, just as sinful, and even more profoundly disappointing, because they claim to exist for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Revd David Gamble, President of the Methodist Conference
In his Easter message, Revd David Gamble, President of the Methodist Conference, has called on Methodists to celebrate God’s action in the here and now.
David stressed the Church’s responsibility to tell good news stories, witnessing to God’s love in action in the lives of individuals and communities in 21st century Britain and all around the world.
He spoke of how the most exciting stories of the Methodist faith lie not just in the past, but in contemporary Church life. “There are some impressive and important stories to be told,” he said. “Not of how things used to be. Not of our Church’s former greatness. Not of our happy memories. But of God’s love in action in the lives of people here and now. The stories come from all over the place. And it is important we share them.”
Christ’s Resurrection urges us to create a society which brings love, truth and justice to all, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon says in his Easter message.
All of us have a political choice in the next few weeks. We call upon all people of goodwill to make it clear to candidates of all parties that we should choose life over death and the alleviation of poverty over the replacement of Trident.
Good Friday and Easter Day are the centre of the Christian faith story. Our churches will be busy this weekend. Our worship will be full of drama and emotion as we tell again what we believe to be the greatest story of all human history. You will be welcome join us and to be part of that.
And finally …
Archbishop Robert Duncan of The Anglican Church in North America
“Go make the tomb secure…”