The Passion whispered loud

8 April 2012

The Passion whispered loud photo

In his Easter message to the diocese, The Bishop of Guildford drew parallels between a war novel, and the Passion story:

"As I write this Easter Message I have just finished reading an extraordinarily powerful novel called ‘A Whispered Name’ by William Brodrick," said Bishop Christopher.

"It is set between the present day and the trenches of the first world war. An Irish Private from the far west is shot by the British Army for desertion, but he had actually returned to the front lines rather than run away. He gave up his life in substitution for a genuine deserter, who is himself eventually transformed by the sacrifice made by the other. And so are other people also connected in this inter-woven story.

"The book is not a conscious allegory of the Passion story. But it shows just how powerful such a vicarious sacrifice is for good. The soldier’s death ‘had meaning’ – it was ultimately redemptive.

"In Romans, St Paul writes that rarely will a man die, even for a good person, even if this does occasionally happen. But God proves his love for us, in that Christ died for us while we were sinners. The novel – with its carefully researched and sometimes harrowing background as to the reality of the western front in 1916 – can be read as a commentary on the power of good, of new life, released in to a network of people by just such a sacrifice.

"The Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ are this writ large on a cosmic and universal scale. A blessed and life-giving celebration of Holy Week and Easter to all.”

Archbishop's final Easter Sermon

Meanwhile, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams used his final Easter sermon in the role to say that the ultimate test of the Christian religion was not whether it is useful, beneficial or helpful to the human race but whether or not its central claim – the resurrection of Jesus Christ – actually happened. Delivering his Easter morning sermon at Canterbury Cathedral, Dr Williams said that no other understanding of Easter morning made any sense:

"Easter makes a claim not just about a potentially illuminating set of human activities but about an event in history and its relation to the action of God. Very simply, in the words of this morning’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we are told that ‘God raised Jesus to life."

Dr Williams said that any understanding of the significance of the resurrection which fell short of this truth would be to misunderstand it:

"We are not told that Jesus ‘survived death’; we are not told that the story of the empty tomb is a beautiful imaginative creation that offers inspiration to all sorts of people; we are not told that the message of Jesus lives on. We are told that God did something – that is, that this bit of the human record, the things that Peter and John and Mary Magdalene witnessed on Easter morning, is a moment when ... we see through to the ultimate energy behind and within all things. When the universe began, prompted by the will and act of God and maintained in being at every moment by the same will and action, God made it to be a universe in which on a particular Sunday morning in AD33 this will and action would come through the fabric of things and open up an unprecedented possibility – for Jesus and for all of us with him: the possibility of a human life together in which the pouring out of God’s Holy Spirit makes possible a degree of reconciled love between us that could not have been imagined ... for the Christian, the basic fact is that this compelling vision is there only because God raised Jesus"

The Archbishop also said that hostility towards faith and religion in public life might recently have become tempered with an appreciation of the part that religion plays in shaping and sustaining human existence, he says, and this is to be welcomed:

"there is plenty to suggest that younger people, while still statistically deeply unlikely to be churchgoers, don’t have the hostility to faith that one might expect, but at least share some ... sense that there is something here to take seriously – when they have a chance to learn about it. It is about the worst possible moment to downgrade the status and professional excellence of religious education in secondary schools – but that’s another sermon…"

Latest News from around the Diocese

Keep up to date with the latest news from around Guildford Diocese, using the links below.

Do you have a story for us? It could not be easier to tell us your news and spread the message across the Diocese. Simply click the button below.

Tell Us Your News!

High quality website important, say 99%

Following a website user survey the diocese is developing plans for a new website to help improve the use and usefulness of the online service
Read More...

High Sheriff to kick-start sponsored cycle for Guildford YMCA

The ride will promote awareness and provide funds to support the work of the charity
Read More...

Archbishop Justin urges parishes to pray and act as violence escalates in Gaza

Justin Welby calls for an immediate ceasefire
Read More...

Anonymous trust pledges to match Cathedral Appeal donations

An anonymous trust has announced it will match any donations up to £45,000
Read More...

Christian Aid launches emergency Gaza appeal

Charity urges churchgoers to back humanitarian appeal with prayer, action and donations
Read More...

Bishop visits projects supporting North Farnham families

Bishop Ian hears how volunteers are helping families develop resilience
Read More...

Adrian Vincent's Synod Speech - Women Bishops

Adrian Vincent's speech during the debate on women Bishops
Read More...

See behind the scenes with WW1 themed Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open Days are back this year with a WW1 theme
Read More...

War Horse revisited

Sound the bugle! 100 miles on horseback across France for the First World War centenary
Read More...

Ready, set, Ride+Stride

The Ride+Stride is back again to help save our churches
Read More...