Bishop Alan’s Easter Message
14th April 2022
The Bishop of St Albans at today’s Maundy Thursday Chrism Eucharist in the Cathedral.
The joyful message of Easter is that God has overcome sin and death and invites us to be people of joy and hope.
Yet this year, we celebrate against the background of bloody conflict in Ukraine and the harrowing pictures of refugees fleeing warfare. It is right that, as a diocese, we are responding to the crisis by collecting and delivering aid, and offering accommodation and hospitality, especially to the refugees arriving at Luton Airport which sits within the diocese.
The situation is all the more tragic because it appears that the war has the unquestioning support of the Russian Orthodox Church – or at least its leadership. When we are tempted to point the finger at others, we need to first examine our own lives; it is right that we reflect whenever our words and deeds deny the very good news we proclaim.
Inevitably, aggression begets aggression and it is likely that some Ukrainian soldiers may have retaliated either out of self-defence or in anger. All acts of aggression and revenge are to be deplored and condemned, whoever commits them. Yet the primary aggressor is the Russian state and we must do all we can to call on the Russian Orthodox Church to denounce the military incursion and indiscriminate bombing and work for peace. If not, the World Council of Churches may need to exclude and isolate the Russian Orthodox Church.
Although the suffering is terrible, our Easter faith assures us that evil is never the final word and that good will finally overcome. Somehow, in the mysterious purposes of God, even the pain and death will be caught up in the redeeming love of God and transfigured.
So this Easter, with dogged defiance we continue to proclaim in faith: Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!
+Alan St Albans