An Easter message from Alastair Bateman, CEO of Church Mission Society
Alastair reflects on how a season of lament can enable us to release hope and improvise new life.
Everything has changed. Due to the coronavirus we are all grieving the loss of something… certainty, human contact, perhaps the loss of a job. Some of us will be grieving the loss of loved ones and if that’s you I want to pass on all our love and sympathy from the staff of Church Mission Society.
And yet in many ways nothing has changed. The new sense of fragility of life for many of us in the UK is just a taste of the daily reality for millions in our world…and nothing has changed at a deeper level too – Jesus is still the same yesterday and today and forever and he continues to care for us. During the storm in Mark 4, the disciples ask: “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” and at the cross Jesus decisively answers this question.So as 1 Peter says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Our current situation has made our Lament for Lent resource, written by our own Cathy Ross, all the more appropriate. And to those of you who have shared with us via our online Lamentspace – thank you. We’ve been moved by your responses and we’ve been holding you in our prayers.
It truly has been a season of lament but as Cathy says in Lament for Lent: “By letting ourselves grieve and standing alongside those who are suffering, we participate in the mystery of God’s own suffering, death and resurrection and through this hope is released.
In Holy Week we live again the story of God suffering with humanity, perfectly seen in Jesus on the cross – the day when everything really did change. And on Easter Day, having been to the ultimate depths, Jesus emerges into a new kind of life.
One of the African Christians who inspired Cathy’s Lent reflections is Maggy Barankitse. Maggy saw her best friend killed before her eyes during mass slaughter in Burundi in 1993. Maggy grieved, she lamented, yet her Christian faith led her through to found children’s centres, community projects, and provide inspiration and dignity in place of hatred and revenge. She said: “Love made me an inventor. Every day I improvise new life.”
So for this Easter my prayer for us and all our partners in God’s mission around our changed world is this:
Loving heavenly father, fill us with the dynamic energy of the Holy Spirit so that we can be releasers of resurrection hope and daily improvisers of new life with Jesus.
I wish you a very happy Easter.