Bishop Paul's Easter message for parish magazines.

First published on: 19th March 2021

The light that pierces the darkness

There is no doubt, after a year of the Coronavirus, that we have become more closely acquainted with death. Many of us have lost loved ones, and only a very few of us have come through the year without experiencing the loss of someone, perhaps a friend or neighbour or workmate.

As a result we have come to know what most of the generations before us knew all their lives - that the shadow of death is always close at hand, and that the light of faith shines all the more brightly in such a shadowed world. We believe in a living God who knows what it is to die, and so the death that surrounds us does not have the victory.

In the fifteenth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians, St Paul points to the heart of our faith - indeed he literally nails it; it is the death of Jesus on the cross, and what happened thereafter:

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain...
For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.

I wish you a blessed Easter, and I pray that the Gospel of the Resurrection may bless and comfort you always, and especially in any darkness that may have touched your own life in this past year. May the risen, living Christ – the light that pierces the darkness – be close to you, always.

+Paul, Bishop of Liverpool.


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