Archbishop's Letter - April 2017

My dear friends,

As we prepare to celebrate Easter once again, I would like to suggest, for your thoughts and reflection, two of the many things that I believe are massively important about Easter. I have spoken in different contexts about these many times before, but I do apologise for doing so again.

The first is that we take Easter seriously as a real moment in real history. No, we don’t know the precise physical or medical details of what happened on that first Easter Day, but we do know that it was something so astonishing, so dramatic and so objectively certain, that the disciples spent the remainder of their earthly lives risking everything – even their lives - in order to tell others that Christ was truly risen from the dead. The very fact that the disciples who witnessed the resurrection did not manufacture a story that, superficially, was watertight in every respect is in fact a strong indication of its basis in historical reality. As twenty-first century disciples we should never be reluctant to proclaim that Easter was something real. Easter is not just a metaphor for good defeating evil, or for people coming to an understanding of the real meaning of Jesus’s life and death for the first time. It was told in the Gospels as a real event. As twenty-first century Christian disciples, we do not need to behave as though any belief in the resurrection of Christ is somehow intellectually substandard.

Secondly we have also to accept the significance of the resurrection of Christ. That Christ is risen means that all that he preached on earth is given its ultimate vindication. We are to live life each day in the light of the conviction that human vanity, ambition, narcissism, selfishness and greed are ultimate follies. We are judged by Christ each day (and will be judged by Christ at the end of our lives) not by what we possess in earthly terms, but by what we give and what we do with the gifts we have been given, be they great or small. Easter Day turns upside down every purely human aspiration and every human fear.

Walking in the light of Easter is not the fantasy of wish-fulfilment. It is radical and it is disquieting, and it is also utterly free from fear.

Christ is risen, he is risen indeed!

+Richard Armagh