Message from Bishop Rachel, 4 April 2023

Published: Tuesday April 11, 2023

Bishop RachelOn Sunday, it was a delight to gather for worship with people in St Edward’s Stow-on-the-Wold. We recalled those shouts of joy on that first Palm Sunday followed by the shouts of hatred and ‘crucify’ on the first Good Friday.

Then, on Monday, I gathered with the Sportily team in a play area in North Gloucester with lots of children, young people and families living in the surrounding housing. There was certainly lots of shouting and noise amid football and rounders. Cheering at winning and shouts of frustration amid losing.

On Sunday, there will be further shouts as we join with Christians across the world to proclaim ‘Alleluia, Christ is risen. He is risen indeed, Alleluia’. There will also be the noise of inner fear and pain as we recall those first disciples who locked themselves in a room on that first Easter evening, overwhelmed by things they could not comprehend. Yet into that outer and inner noise came the voice of Jesus Christ speaking a name in a garden and on a beach: ‘Mary’, ‘Peter’, and speaking words of peace and hope.

This week, we live all this in a world full of noise around us and within us, not least amid the activity of our worshipping communities, yet I hope we will also take time for quiet and stillness. At the foot of the cross on Good Friday, may we pause to allow the noise of brokenness within us to be met by the mercy and grace of God; and on Saturday, when the world will be bustling, may we linger with the pain of loss and disappointment and recall Christ buried in the tomb, and his followers’ shattered dreams and hopes clamouring within them. Then, on Easter Day, may there be quiet space between the shouts of alleluias to hear Jesus speaking our name as we open ourselves again to encounter in new and deeper ways the hope and life of the living Christ.

On Thursday, you are invited to begin this three-day journey (Triduum) at the Chrism Eucharist at 11am in the Cathedral. Readers, licensed and authorised lay ministers will renew their commitment to ministry yet will do so within the context of the calling of the whole baptised people of God ‘summoned to witness to God’s love and to work for the coming of God’s kingdom’. There will be noise and stillness as we re-commit ourselves to being God’s people once again, seeking to discover and share Christ’s fullness of life amid the inner and outer noise of the people and places of our different communities across the Diocese.

Thank you for the ministry in which we share. May you walk a blessed Holy Week and a hope-filled Easter when it comes.

+ Rachel

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