The Anglican Church of Bermuda is as much a part of our Bermudian culture as the beat of the snare drum from the neighborhood Gombey troupe; or the refreshing taste of a sweet loquat in season. In fact, the Anglican Church has been a part of the Bermudian way of life from the very beginning. Aboard the Sea Venture on that fateful journey in June 1609, was a Priest of the Church of England, Rev’d Richard Bucke. Thus the ties between Bermuda and the Anglican Communion have a long, rich history.
As the national religious body for the beautiful island of Bermuda, the Anglican Church hopes to offer the same tranquility, serenity and peace that can be found in the scent of salt water, the view of the sunset and the sweet singing of the bluebird. We welcome you into a safe and Godly environment, where a love for Jesus Christ is supreme and service to others in the power of the Holy Spirit is paramount.
In a world where there seems more negative news than good, where dreams are quickly quashed, where sometimes it feels like the bad guys are always getting the upper hand, it can be hard to have hope.
In the face of our own fragility and mortality, we can wonder what is the point?
In our own lives, where we wrestle with inner feelings of guilt and carry the weight of our own failures, it is sometimes hard to see the way forward.
In our community, it feels like we are on a powder keg of mixed emotions and tensions.
In this world, the Easter story stands as a reminder that over and against injustice, sin, darkness, evil and death itself is the possibility of both forgiveness and resurrection, a cleansing of the old and a new beginning.
From the earliest days of the Church, the cry was and is “Christ is risen!” — to which the answer is “He is risen indeed!”
These were words first spoken by those who saw and touched the risen Jesus for themselves and went to their own martyrdom professing this creed with an unwavering faith. It gave them peace, joy, courage and boldness.
This week, I spoke with my friend and fellow bishop, Daniel Abot, who on April 25 returns home to South Sudan, where he was sent to minister in the heartland of the tensions between government and rebel forces — drawn largely on tribal lines — between the Dinka and Nuer peoples.
He himself is a Dinka and grew up in a refugee camp. But working with him is Bishop Thomas, a Nuer. Bishop Daniel is often the first to be called to the site of a massacre. He goes there to bring the message of reconciliation and to pray for the people.
I asked him if he was at peace as he leaves his seven children and wife in Australia, where they have been offered a home. He laughed. He explained that he is going to a place where there is no security — where he will have to pass along a 400-kilometre stretch of road stopped by government and then rebel checkpoints, and vigilante groups.
He has no salary and there is no food, as the country is on the brink of famine. “If I did not believe that God is my protector, that He is my guide, I would not go,” he said. “But I know my saviour lives and I rejoice to share in His suffering.”
Bishop Daniel went on: “The only hope we have for changing people’s hearts is in the powerful gospel of Jesus Christ that breaks down the barriers.”
Easter is about forgiveness and new life, breaking barriers. For those who lay down their burdens at the foot of the Cross, it is about restoration and transformation. There are many ways that people try to get what they want. When He was arrested, Jesus warned His disciples: “Those who live by the sword, perish by the sword.”
By comparison, His way was the way of service and sacrifice; the way of love and forgiveness. His way ushered in a new era where divisions of nationality, culture and religious background, race and gender where swept away.
Sadly, we seem determined to build walls, where He sought to break them down. The message of Easter and the power that Jesus brings are as urgently needed and are as relevant and available today as they were then.
May God bless each of you this Easter time and restore your hope for a new day. May He shine His love and forgiveness into your hearts and homes, and bring you, your family and this community peace.
“Christ is risen; He is risen indeed!”
*Ordinand - someone who is training for Ordained ministry as a deacon or priest.
Copyright (©) 2013