Bishop Mark’s Easter message 2017

April 16, 2017

I have spent the last few hours considering what I could be saying to the Diocese and to the community in an Easter message, what new things could I be teasing out of the Gospel story, how could I reinterpret the Easter events. To help me I walked up to the church at the top of my garden and looked out over the Northern hills and down over the Black Isle seeking inspiration in the landscape I love.
As I looked out across the old homeland of the Diocese of Ross, across the bay at Munlochy towards the ancient buildings at Rosemarkie and Fortrose, I could sense the centuries of Christian worship that have created these communities, these clachans built alongside the church, places which include my own home here at Arpafeelie. The history of these communities is the history of the local church and the one constant message down through the ages has been one of Resurrection.
I am aware of conflicts, religious division, people abusing each other and the land they live on. I can almost see the battle field at Culloden, the fort at Ardersier, the war memorials in our churches and on our street corners. I feel the anguish of those frightened by the thought of being asked to leave these communities they have grown to love, I hear the fear in the voices of those with family and friends in the war torn places of this world and here in our cathedral I witness the hardships of those without regular shelter or sustenance. And what message do I wish to share with them? The Resurrection.
I walk in streets and am looked at and laughed at, I spend time in communities that see everything I do as unimportant and unnecessary, I hear the voices of the cynical and the angry, the self important and the self centred and what do I want them to feel ? The joy of Resurrection.
I have no new message because I am charged with sharing the most remarkable and constant message. Jesus died and rose again for you, not to give you great riches, not to end all your difficulties but to let you know that you are always loved, never alone and that your creator knows why you feel the way you do. A son rejected, betrayed, beaten and killed means that God knows what we are forgiven for and why we need love. So my Easter message is the same as the message of the centuries.
Christ is Risen Alleluia