On Sunday I preached at St Chrysostom’s Church about ‘My Easter Faith’. Just as the first witnesses to the resurrection were women, so each week during Easter St Chrysostom’s is having a female preacher giving witness to the resurrection in their own lives.
I talked about Easter hope. A hope that, at times, is all we have when terrible things go on around the world and in our society today; a hope that, at times, is the only thing that gets me through really difficult days in ministry, sustaining and enabling me as a priest.
I talked about discovering the depth of that hope during my time at theological college; about the experience of being part of a wonderful yet broken community that was divided and hurt by differing views among students on the ordination of women. I talked about the difficult journey we went on to work out how we, all having been baptised into the death and resurrection of Christ, could celebrate that death and resurrection together during Holy Week and Easter.
I talked about the wonder and the joy of that Easter Day. The journey there had been painful; we’d hurt one another; we’d made a real mess of the situation. Yet Easter still came; Jesus was still alive; there was still great joy and rejoicing.
That experience taught me so much about Easter hope. Whatever mess the world, the church, or our lives are, whatever difficulties we face: Easter still comes, Jesus is still alive and one day all shall be well. Until that day we have Easter hope and Easter faith to get us through.
Today I feel broken and hurt again. This time for the wonderful City of Manchester that is my home: for those who have died; who grieve; who are injured; who have witnessed the effects of last night’s terrorist attack at the MEN arena; whose lives are changed forever as a result. So today is a day for clinging on to that Easter hope and Easter faith: despite everything, Easter still comes, Jesus is still alive and one day all shall be well.
Revd Katy Cunliffe