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Not easy news

Rowan Williams has a characteristically excellent Easter sermon posted online now. Here’s a snip:

The preaching of Peter and Paul and all the witnesses of the Risen Jesus says that two basic things are demanded of us. First: we must acknowledge our own share in what the cross is and represents; we must learn to see ourselves as caught up in a world where the innocent are scapegoated and killed and where we are all unwilling, to a greater or lesser degree, to face unwelcome truths about ourselves. We must learn to see that we cannot by our own wisdom and strength cut ourselves loose from the tangle of injustice, resentment, fear and prejudice that traps the human family in conflict and misery.

And second: we must learn to trust that love and justice are not defeated by our failure; that God has provided from his own strength and resourcefulness a way to freedom, once we have become able to recognise in the face of the suffering Jesus his own divine promise of mercy and life. The resurrection is the manifesting to the world of the triumph of a love that uses no coercion or manipulation but is simply itself – an indestructible love. The challenge of Easter is to believe that God is not defeated by the most extreme rejection imaginable.

Good news? Emphatically yes. But not easy news. To recognise God in the crucified Jesus alters so much: it alters what we think about God, and it alters where we look for God in the human world. It suggests uncomfortably that God is likeliest to be found among those we have, like the religious and political establishment of Jesus’ day, dismissed or shut out; it suggests that our models of success and failure have to be turned upside down; it suggests that our eternal future is bound up with whether we are able to turn to those we have hurt and seek forgiveness.

5 Comments

  1. Wonderful words. Thanks for sharing.

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 8:24 am | Permalink
  2. Auggie Webster wrote:

    Quick question for all inquiring minds. In 100 years will Rowan be remembered more as a theologian or Archbishop of Canterbury? Will success or lack there of in either area affect his estimation in the other? Will his praxis affect his doxy or vice versa?

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Permalink
  3. Halden wrote:

    Much as it is today, I suspect it will depend on who you ask.

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 9:09 am | Permalink
  4. kim fabricius wrote:

    In 100 years, peple will ask, “What is Canterbury?”

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Permalink
  5. Rob L wrote:

    A small town in the south-east of England, of course.

    Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

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