Sunday 31 March 2024

Easter Message 2024 - Bishop of St Davids

My dear Sisters and Brothers,

Our faith is an Easter faith, Jesus is Risen from the dead! The tomb is empty, and our hope has become a reality. Today we can claim that new life and joy belongs to us, the battle has been fought and “death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor 15.54). Jesus lives! And the world needs to hear our Alleluia!

Today, more than ever, the world needs to be aware of the truth of the cross and the resurrection of Jesus, its effect on our lives and the hope that Christ’s redeeming love has on a divided, hopeless and broken world. Jesus’ resurrection brings an end to sin and death, to injustice; his love comforts the bereaved, binds the broken and opens our way to God. In Christ all things are made new and through him we are “born again”.

As we look at the world, we can see that the need for the Easter message is great. Since the end of the pandemic, it grieves me to think that the percentage of those who do not attend church or chapel is on the increase. Most people seem to have a residual belief in a divine being; however, it plays a very little part in their day-to-day lives. Even the rites of passage of birth, marriage, and death are becoming distant from the sacraments and pastoral ministry of the church. I am concerned that there are fewer young families, teenagers and children in our congregations, and that older members are feeling marginalised and undervalued; there is a general apathy which shadows everything.

We need to find ways of communicating the Joy of the Risen Christ anew and encourage people to participate in the full life and ministry of the church. I am mindful that at the heart of every community there is a church whose task it is to radiate the love of God and proclaim the Good News of the Gospel. As we celebrate Easter let us as a Diocese commit ourselves to not only proclaim the Risen life of Christ but share him and allow his life to live in us and revitalise our church communities.

For all of us, the work of preaching the Gospel starts on our own doorstep. In fact, attending church is one way of doing so that everyone can do. I remember hearing about a new vicar in a parish who decided to celebrate Communion every morning during Holy Week. The warden said it would be a waste of time. "No one will come," he said.

A young boy was listening, "I’ll come," he said, and he did so every morning. On the second morning, his parents came with him. By Wednesday morning, his school friends were there. His neighbours attended the Good Friday afternoon service and everyone at that church enjoyed a blessed Easter. This can happen in our churches, not only at Easter but throughout the year, should we choose this way of preaching the Gospel and sharing the life of Jesus.

I wish you a happy and blessed Easter,

+Dorrien Tyddewi