The Bishop of Peterborough Donald Allister has given his Easter message for 2013.
Writing in the Chronicle & Echo, he said: “Polls suggest that fewer and fewer people know the Easter Story. Most people know something of the meaning of Christmas, at least that December 25 marks the birth of Jesus. But increasing numbers don’t know what Good Friday or Easter Day are about. Good Friday (called Holy Friday in some parts of the world) is the day Jesus was crucified – a horribly cruel form of execution in the Roman Empire. The exact date varies as the crucifixion took place on the eve of the Jewish Passover which is dated by the lunar calendar, but it’s always between the 21st of March and the 23rd of April. It’s called Good Friday because although what happened was dreadful – the cruel execution of an innocent man – we Christians believe that Jesus’ death brings about the possibility of God’s forgiveness and blessing to our wayward human race.
“Easter Day, the Sunday after Good Friday, marks the most remarkable event in human history: the resurrection of Jesus from death. Not a waking up from unconsciousness – Roman executioners knew how to kill a man and be sure he was dead. Jesus Christ who had been certified dead on the Friday was fully and gloriously alive on the Sunday. Christians don’t just mark the resurrection once a year. Soon after the resurrection they moved their weekly day of worship from Saturday (the Jewish Sabbath) to Sunday: Resurrection Day. We celebrate Jesus’ resurrection every Sunday, every week of the year – it’s that important.
“The resurrection tells us that death is not the end: that God is more powerful even than death. It tells us that Jesus Christ is Lord over all things and the source of real life. It tells us that forgiveness and a new start are always possible with God. It tells us that eternal life is God’s free gift to all who follow Christ.”