Bishop Paul has written his Easter message to the parishes across the Diocese of Liverpool.
Don't you hate knowing the end of a film before you have had the chance to see it for yourself? Having the clever twist, the final act, the big reveal known to us can change the way we approach and perceive the story. But of course that’s how we see the Easter story today. As the drama of Holy Week unfolds; as we see the storm gather around Jesus. We witness the biased and corrupt trial proceedings. We are horrified by the cruel and brutal punishment being meted out. And yet at all times in the back of our minds we have the knowledge of the resurrection.
This is one story that is enhanced by the knowledge of the final twist. For to only have part of the picture, an incomplete story, means we are left in a state of fear and paralysis. The liberating knowledge that God can conquer all things that transforms the story, gives us all the strength and encouragement to tackle what we face in our lives.
In the immediate aftermath of Jesus’ death the disciples themselves had no idea how the story would end. They were disillusioned and confused, running scared and in disarray. But the knowledge of the resurrection and power of the Holy Spirit enabled them to form themselves into a group equipped and empowered to spread the Gospel throughout the known world – to turn that world upside down.
There are many times in each of our lives when we might wish we know the end of a particular story or of a situation we're facing. When we could have the certainty that the decisions we will make will be right, just and see our work crowned with glory. But sadly so often we can feel in the Saturday shadow of the cross, looking back to defeat rather than forward towards hope.
Sadder still is the large numbers we encounter who have no idea that hope is even possible - who haven’t heard what God can do. Who haven’t experienced his life enhancing life transforming love. It is to them we, as a church wanting to make a bigger difference, are reaching.
In every parish and every community in our diocese that sense of hope can be offered in the work we do – pastoral care, feeding the poor, speaking about the way our society should be led and should be shaped. What these things have in common is hope. Hope for the poor, hope for the lonely, hope for the vulnerable, hope for the scared.
We are empowered to make that difference because we know the story. We know it ends with the promise f the Spirit and the hope of eternal life. We can be difference-makers because we are part of the story. And we know how it ends.