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Faith and hope wins over fear says Bishop Alan

In an Easter message, Bishop Alan Hopes says we have watched with horror and fear the war in Ukraine.

Some of us will be deeply involved practically and emotionally.  Evil very easily rears its head; we live in a fallen world and the effects of original sin are real, not theoretical.   

We have seen again the worst examples of human depravity.  Christians are always aware of the fragility of human structures and the unreliability of human saviours; our hope cannot be invested in political solutions to that fallen reality. 

In the midst of tragedy, though, we always find truth and goodness.  Human beings have great potential; extremes can bring out that potential.  We have seen courage, generosity, kindness, and love; a desire for the real truth, and a desire to defend what is good and beautiful.

During Eastertide, we meditate with the confidence given to us by the reality of the bodily Resurrection of Jesus on the power of God which conquers every evil.  We still live with a foot in both camps: but led by the Risen Jesus, we are stepping out of the old world of sin and sadness, and are walking into the new creation of peace and joy.  

We believe that the Resurrection has changed the cosmos.  It has opened up another option: to embrace the liberation of Jesus offered to us by his conquest of death.  The Christian has no reason to be paralysed by fear.  The virtue of Christian hope allows us to live in this fallen world, knowing that its evils do not have the last word.  The Devil has lost; God has won. 

In Lent, we look forward to Easter.  At Easter, we do not stop on our journey, but look forward to Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit is constantly at work. He himself is invisible, but we can see his effects.  In this war, we can see his gifts of courage and piety shining through the darkness of violence. In the pandemic, we saw the gifts of kindness and understanding through the darkness of confusion.  

He is constantly at work, and when we see darkness, rather than despair, we Christian people see faith and hope. We can always lovingly respond with courage, knowing that the Victorious Christ is leading us.  He never fails us, and his triumph over evil is certain. 

+Alan S Hopes

Bishop of East Anglia

Pictured above, Bishop Alan meets some of the aid team at St Olga’s Ukrainian church in Peterborough.

Watch Bishop Alan deliver his reflection below.