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2019 Easter messages from our bishops

Easter messages from Bishop Christopher and Bishop John have been broadcast and published by the local media.

Easter message from Bishop Christopher

Early one morning, long ago, two women, with that deep emptiness that only grief can engrave onto hearts, arrived to tend the body of the one they loved and in whom they had put all their hope. He had been cruelly killed, a victim of violence.

Their emptiness met another emptiness – an empty tomb – and an angel who brought them hope. Hope of resurrection, of life, a new future. It filled their emptiness. It sounds impossible.

The angel’s promise was proved true when they met the risen Jesus, alive with life and love. The impossible became possible.

Have you seen the Knife Angel standing tall outside the Cathedral? 100,000 knives, some of them used to bring life to an end, reshaped into a massive messenger of peace? It’s beautiful and terrifying. The face that’s seen suffering and a body that holds out empty hands and beckons us to new ways of living. It sounds impossible.

I’ve seen something stir in the hearts of those who’ve come in their thousands to see this angel that’s visited Coventry. I’ve seen dreams form and hope rise. I’ve seen a new future dawn where love heals hate and peace defeats violence. I’ve seen the impossible becoming possible. I’ve seen Jesus risen from the dead saying, ‘Walk with me in the way of life’. I’ve seen Easter come and emptiness end.

Easter message from Bishop John

The Good News of Easter, of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is not simply about the past, an event in history, some two thousand years ago. Nor is it simply about the future, what happens when we die. It is good news for us here and now. It tells us that there is more to life than this life and that we can experience it now, in this life. To discover this new dimension, we have first of all to know our need of it. We have to face up to the truth. We have to see what it is uncomfortable to see. We have to see and to recognise not only all that it grieves us to see out there in the world: war, conflicts, violence, divisions, injustice and poverty. We have also to recognise our own capacity to do wrong or not to do what is right. We have to face up to the bad news before we can discover the good news.

The extraordinary statue of the Knife Angel, currently outside Coventry Cathedral has touched the hearts and minds of thousands who have seen it. It is made from knives, handed in to the police, knives that had been or would have been used for violence. The deeply sad and anguished face of the angel, seems to ask ‘Why? or ‘How?’ could you let this happen? So many stabbings. Though created out of weapons of violence, it pleads for peace and this longing for peace is the beginning of hope, if we can turn these longings into action. At least one young man, on seeing the statue, handed his knife in to the police. The impact of the Knife Angel resonates so powerfully with the story of Coventry Cathedral, bombed almost to destruction in 1940, but out of this destruction came a new commitment to building peace and a new Cathedral committed to reconciliation. This is the way God works, through crucifixion to resurrection. This is the Easter story, in which God invites us to share, turning despair to hope, anguish to peace and darkness to light in the world around us. If we are not part of the solution we are part of the problem.