It has been my privilege to celebrate Christ’s resurrection alongside many different communities. Most years I attach myself to a parish and journey with them through the agonies of Holy Week to the joys of Easter morning. This year I have made my home with a parish in Salford that serves one of the poorer parts of the inner city. Together we have followed the one who is the hope of the poor, as much today in Britain as 2000 years ago in Jerusalem. We have dwelt in his love and sought to share that love with others, by word and deed.
The great St Francis of Assisi taught those who followed his example that it is only by being with Christ in his suffering on the cross that we can begin to comprehend the love for which he went to his death. The proof of that love is in both his dying and his rising.
Two years ago I worshipped on Easter morning with a congregation in Youhanabad, a district of Lahore. Three Sundays earlier they had been victims of a suicide bomb attack. Several of their church members had been killed or injured. After our worship I had the privilege of praying with each of the bereaved families. I will never forget that Easter. And yet what is most memorable about it, is that their sufferings did not quench their Easter praise. They had faith that those they had lost so tragically were now with Christ. They had entered into the Easter hope in which we would in due course join them. Loss and hope, death and resurrection, are all part of the Easter story. But its heart is the joy that binds us with them and all Christian people, in every place and every generation, this morning.