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Archbishop’s Easter Video Messages

Easter Baptisms at York Minster

Monday 2nd April 2012

The Archbishop of York has recorded three video messages in preparation for Easter which include short reflections for Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. The video messages will also be added to social media website YouTube.

The Archbishop said:

“It is important that we get the good news of Easter out to as many people as possible. It is about Jesus’s love and sacrifice for us, but also His resurrection – and an opportunity for new life.

“Good Friday is knowing that God is at work in our everyday lives.   There is nowhere God will not go to make a difference and that is the good news for Good Friday. On Holy Saturday, I will be baptising people who want to make a fresh start with God outside the steps of York Minster. In the evening a vigil is held in the Minster starting at 8.30pm. The Easter fire and Paschal Candle are alight and joyful noise is made to welcome the Resurrection of Christ. People bring all sorts of instruments to make a joyful noise. We then have a service of confirmation. What a joy!"

"Easter is a fantastic time to commit to God, and it’s never too late to do it. The challenge is to make the world the place God wants it to become, and it’s a challenge for you and me”.

The Archbishop’s video message for Good Friday is based on overcoming evil and living with the heartache of suffering.  The video for Holy Saturday features the joy of baptism and the chance to start again.  For Easter Sunday, the Archbishop looks at the power of transformation and the hope the resurrection of Jesus Christ brings.

The full text of the Archbishop’s messages follows:

Good Friday- why Good because God is in it with us and for us, doing for us that we could not do for ourselves, making us friends of God.

Have you ever looked at a situation and just wanted to weep?  I am sure that most of us will have felt that gut wrenching heart-ache at the suffering of others at some point in our lives; whether it is listening to our friend talk about their battle with illness or the breakup of a relationship.

The question is- how far would we go to put something right?  What would we be prepared to do to help someone else?

The Bible tells us that God is in it with us.  He, too, weeps at the suffering of others.  In the person of Jesus, God Himself took His place in the heart-ache of the world, so that He could be part of putting things right again.

In dying on the cross, Jesus went further than anyone has ever done to put things right.  On the cross Jesus took onto Himself all the pain, wrongdoing and anguish of the world, and broke its power forever. 

Jesus showed how far God Himself is willing to go in order to put things right.  There is nowhere that God will not go to make a difference- even death holds no fear, even hell holds no fear. Jesus has shown us that, with Him, there is a way through everything that we face.

Good Friday is where we celebrate Good overcoming all that is evil in the world.  In whatever we face today, we give thanks that Jesus Christ is in it with us and for us, not just to keep us company, but to show us the way through that leads back to God.  That surely is good news for Good Friday because in the cross, God discloses the essence of what it is to be God. All power belongs to him by right through self-sacrifice and not through self-service.

Baptisms- a chance to start again

I guess that all of us will have had times when we just wish that we could start again.  It might have been a conversation where the more you said the deeper the hole you dug for yourself.  It might have been a relationship where something went wrong and you never quite seemed to be able to put things right.  It may be that you feel it’s all too late.

Recently I confirmed a lady, 60 years of age, who before her confirmation said to me that she thought she had missed her chance with God, because she hadn’t got confirmed as a teenager.  It was now too late for her.

With God, it is never too late; there is always time to make a fresh start.

The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter day is known as ‘Holy Saturday’ and on the steps of York Minster, I will be baptising people who want to make that fresh start with God.  This is a wonderful thing to be able to do, and is so life transforming that Jesus called this fresh start with God being ‘born again’ by water and the spirit! 

Imagine being able to start a new life, with all the mistakes of the past wiped clean and forgiven.  We may still have to face some of the consequences of those mistakes but God Himself promises to give us the resources that we need to live this new life well.  Why don’t you join me in making that fresh start with God?

Easter Day- there is hope and a future.

Someone recently told me that their favourite verse in the bible was Philippians chapter 4 verse 13 which says ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me’.  She said, ‘This tells me that God can make the impossible, possible.’

The resurrection of Jesus that we celebrate today shows us that nothing is beyond God’s power to make a difference, not even death. Because He went to hell and back and that means that there is always hope.

My prayer is the same for all people.  I pray that you will know that God loves you and has a purpose for you.   I pray that you will be inspired to become all that God has created you to be.  I pray that you will be enabled to change your environment and to make it the place that God wants it to become.  The challenge starts now and it is a challenge for you and for me! 

There is hope, and, whatever our past, together with God, suddenly anything is possible.  This is truly fantastic news.

As you celebrate Easter day, and enjoy your Fairtrade Easter Eggs,  I pray that you will know God very close at hand, and that He will give you a sense of hope for all that you are and all that you can be.  I pray that God will give you the courage to have dreams that transform not only your lives, but the lives of all those you meet, for the better. For we are an Easter people. Hallelujah is our song. Jesus is Risen – Hallelujah! 

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