Bishop Paul at Auckland Castle. (Picture: Keith Blundy)

I want to begin by wishing everyone a very Happy Easter. The last few months arguably the last couple of years have been times of deep uncertainty in our nation. That uncertainty gets marked in all kinds of different ways. Its uncertainty around Universal Credit is uncertainty around Brexit it’s uncertainty simply around life in general. Then this week in our neighbour France, we have a massive tragedy as Notre Dame the great cathedral that is so symbolic for that nation goes up in flames. But what happens then, is people gathering on the streets to light candles, to sing hymns, to pray to cheer the fire services, they want to be hopeful for the future as we have promises of rebuilding.

For me the Easter story is filled with hope, it’s the hope of life renewed, it’s the hope of forgiveness of all our sins, it’s the hope of a new start with God in Jesus Christ. Hope appeared to have gone completely for the first disciples on Good Friday. But on that Easter Day and in the days that followed, hope was renewed and it was different and distinctive from everything that had gone before because now it was rooted in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We are called to be as the Church the people of hope, the people who offer hope to individuals to families to communities to our nation.

It’s my prayer that over this Easter weekend and in the weeks that followed in the months that follow, we will be those who contribute to creating and bringing hope to our nation, to our communities, to families, to individuals – that we will share hope, not blind optimism, but hope that is built in the reality of God. The reality of God’s love for us and the conviction that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and changes lives. May we truly be the people who hold out God’s hope, to those around us.

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