Easter Day: The church celebrates
Across the country and across the diocese Easter Day sees churches decorated, churchyards tidied, bells rung, flags flying from church towers, and people worshipping in significant numbers. Whatever their style of worship, at the heart of the Easter celebration is the rediscovery, in sacrament and prayer, that Christ is truly risen. Hope is renewed in many, many hearts.
The risen Christ: beyond the church
But I want to go on and suggest that the risen Christ is not only to be found in the church. Indeed the Easter stories that we read and hear in church tell of a Christ who was risen outside and beyond the gathered groups of disciples. They found him, and were surprised to find him, out in the world, on the road, and only then did they find him in their gathered worship (Luke 24: 13-35).
Christ is risen: in financial inclusion
I have become a director of a credit union, the Derbyshire Community Bank. One of the largest credit unions operating in our county, it is now moving into the City of Derby. Credit unions are about offering loans to people, often on the edge of financial well-being, who otherwise might fall into the hands of loan sharks. They offer loans on very reasonable terms. They can also help people to learn the discipline of regular saving. They also need investors of course, and it’s hugely encouraging to know that several PCCs in the diocese are looking to invest in the Derbyshire Community Bank. In the work on the bank’s board of directors I have come to sense the presence of the risen Christ – giving us energy and wisdom for the task. And in the work of trying to include people into the circle of financial well-being, I have sensed the Kingdom of the risen Christ, his work going forward. Hope, for those on the edge financially, is being offered.
Christ is risen: in school
In preparing our plans for a new Cathedral School in Derby, diocesan representatives and I went on site visits to see what excellent schools look and feel like. A school in Derby took my breath away. Educational attainment across the city is not uniformly high, but this was a school which has lifted standards and achievement markedly, has a brilliant atmosphere, and has a framework of care and attention to the individual child which hugely impressed me. I saw the Head Teacher speak to a young pupil who initially looked a bit lost and sheepish. The Head knew his name, knew about him, and knew just how to lift his spirit. The youngster seemed to grow by inches in front of our very eyes. Standards rising, an atmosphere of encouragement and esteem, a school running well and happily. Again I sensed Christ’s incognito presence as pupils and staff worked hopefully together, in an unglamorous spot, to draw the very best out of the possibilities that God provides.
At Easter, always and every where
On Easter Day we hear of Christ risen – and the stories we hear tell us to walk out into the world and find that it is so. So we rejoice, and we join in the work he has begun.
The Very Revd Dr John Davies
Dean of Derby