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‘In world full of fear, do not be afraid’ – The Easter message from Archbishop of Wales

archIN A WORLD gripped by fear the message of Easter is “Do not be afraid”, says the Archbishop of Wales.

With major cities on high alert from terrorist attacks and refugees fleeing into Europe, we are living in a climate of fear, says Dr Barry Morgan. Easter, however, tells us not to be afraid as God is with us through it all and calls us to a life which resists violence and degradation.

Dr Morgan says, “Our world seems to be gripped by fear – to begin with there are constant threats of terrorist attacks on virtually every major city across the world.  This country and London especially, is on high alert against such a possibility because it is regarded as a prime target.  The tragic events in Brussels this week have simply reinforced the terror.

“At the same time, many countries in Europe are fearful of being inundated by refugees and there are plenty of people willing to fuel such fears.  And the debate whether to remain or leave the European Union, as far as Britain is concerned, often feeds on people’s fears –  fears about sovereignty and not being able to decide Britain’s future and again the financial implications of having to accept more refugees than we can afford.

“Jesus’ constant refrain, echoing the words of God through His messengers from Genesis to Revelation is ‘Do not be afraid’.”

That reassurance, however, doesn’t mean nothing bad will ever happen to us, says the Archbishop, and that we will be safe and immune from danger. He says, “What Christ’s words do mean is that whatever happens to you, God will be with you and God is stronger than anything that can be arraigned against you, even death itself.  And that goes to the heart of the meaning of Easter for us as well.

“The message of the Risen Jesus to individuals who are facing incurable illnesses and inevitable death, and to relatives totally bereft after the loss of someone they love deeply, hard though it is at times to believe is that God is there too.  It is a much more profound message than, ‘I will make you feel better’ or ‘I will take away your pain or your grief’ because actually that does not happen.  What is true is, that in the midst of all the pain and angst of terminal illness and bereavement, God says I will be there too, sustaining, supporting, weeping with you, however terrible you feel and however bleak you feel the outcome may be.”

The Easter message also shows us that the God of Jesus is greater even than death, says the Archbishop.  He says, “That does not mean, as one poster I saw last week said, ‘You can live forever because of Easter’ as if death could be bypassed and we simply carried on as if we were immortal but rather that we will all die but the God of Jesus is greater even than death and He will raise us to new life in His presence.  He can and does make all things new for us humans and for our world as well.”

We need to live out Christ’s values in all we do: “Since God has given a resounding yes to Jesus’ way of living and dying – the way of forgiveness, compassion, mercy and grace, of not returning violence with violence, of turning the other cheek, of valuing those who are least valued in society because every single human being is made in the image of God and because that is God’s future, we are bidden to begin that kind of life now.  Not being afraid means resisting all that enslaves, degrades and dehumanises another human being and doing so non-violently.”