Saturday, 7 April 2012


The Bishop of Leicester's First Person column is published every Saturday in the Leicester Mercury:
Story of Easter is in danger of becoming lost
One of the more enchanting memories of the time when our children were small was Easter Sunday morning. The family ritual required us to hunt for Easter eggs in the garden and our son made it quite clear that there was no question of him going to Church until the eggs had been found.
Easter eggs have been lining the queues to the tills in the supermarkets ever since Christmas. And when I spoke recently to a group of Hindu children about the story of Easter, and asked them what they would expect to find in an Easter egg, they replied "toys!".
But there have been some unusual Easter eggs for sale in the supermarkets and newsagents this Easter. They are known as "The Real Easter Egg", namely one that tells the story of Easter and explains why Easter eggs are shared. It's a story which apparently is becoming less and less well known.
When the drama of Easter is acted out in the centre of Leicester each year, I tend to hear children asking their parents what's going on and why all this is happening. It seems to me to be sad that a story which has shaped so much of our national character, is being lost to our collective memory.
And that is particularly so since at the heart of the story are events which are all too familiar in our contemporary world.
The figure of Jesus who is arrested, tortured and executed is an all too familiar figure from the news stories of our day.
To Christians the story speaks of the nature of God who does not abandon us in our times of tragedy and turmoil, but stands with us in all the difficulties and challenges of our life.
To watch the Easter story enacted once again in the heart of our city, is to be reminded of the countless numbers of refugees, driven from their home by ethnic cleansing, those unfairly arrested, persecuted and put to death.
Many people who are fleeing from such terror find their way to our own city and seek support from projects which welcome the homeless and the vulnerable.
Their story reminds us of this ancient story of the carpenter of Nazareth, whose life of forgiveness, love and reconciliation proved too threatening and challenging for many people and who paid with his life.
But the purpose of the story is the way in which it reveals God's love for all of us, especially the most vulnerable. A very happy Easter to you all.

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