The Easter story means we have ‘nothing to fear’
In his first Easter Sunday sermon at Exeter Cathedral, the Bishop of Exeter spoke of the need for all of us to look death in the face and ‘confront it fearlessly’.
Speaking before the service, he said his thoughts were with the bereaved families after the murders in Kenya and the grieving relatives of those who died in the terrible air crash in the Alps, as well as those mourning closer to home.
He said the message of Easter is not that death is unimportant but that because of the resurrection of Christ, we are all invited to share in a new future with him. “God is alongside all those who grieve and takes their grief seriously. He will renew.”
In his Easter day talk at the Cathedral, he said: “Like Mary Magdalene, God calls us each of us by name to become part of the new thing he is doing as the whole cosmos is being renewed. It is why, as we face death, either our own or those nearest and dearest to us, we have nothing to fear.
“Yes, we weep and mourn when those we love die. But as Paul says to the Thessalonians, we mourn ‘not as people who have no hope’.”
And Bishop Robert quoted the late Cardinal Basil Hume who, when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, said: “I have received two wonderful graces. First, I have been given time to prepare for a new future. Secondly, I find myself uncharacteristically calm and at peace. I intend to carry on working as much and as long as I can. I have no intention of being an invalid until I have to submit to this illness. I shall be a bit limited in what I can do. But please above all, no fuss. The future is in God’s hands.”
Bishop Robert, who has lost both his parents in recent months, said: “The future is indeed in God’s hands: your future and my future. This is the hope that is crystallised and celebrated at Easter in the rising of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.”
The Bishop also baptized many 18 people into the Christian faith at the Cathedral at the weekend.