In his Pastoral letter read on the Sunday before lent the Bishop quoted St Paul who wrote of the Resurrection as being at the very heart of the Christian life. He said, If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised, and if Christ has not been raised then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins….. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
It is this resurrection hope that we shall celebrate at the end of the month at Easter. It is this hope that sets us Christian’s apart and keeps us going when things appear dark and gloomy.
The period since the Bishop’s Pastoral letter was read has not been an easy one, for it was also on that day that Dr. Bernard Sixtus decided to leave us to join the Ordinariate. I would like to pay personal tribute to him for his wise council to me, and for the Priestly and pastoral way he has cared for all Anglicans in Aberagavenny.
This is not the first time that Anglicans have considered going to Rome I am currently reading the new biography of Archbishop Cosmo Lang, by Robert Beaken. There it is recorded that after Parliament threw out the 1928 Prayer Book the Archbishop worried that Anglo-Catholics may defected to Rome in large numbers. Yet nearly a century later the Anglican Church is still here in all its guises.
I am strengthened by the message of Christian hope and by the fact that Jesus gives us a cross to bear- but not one that is too burdensome. That is the spirit in which we must go forward. Bernard’s departure will mean changes, I hope we are all open to these changes.
As Lent moves forward I pray that it continues to be a time of renewal and discernment for us all – and pray that when it comes you will have a Blessed Easter.