Archdeacon of West Ham Elwin Cockett’s Easter message


- Credit: Archant

Anyone who has been a fan of West Ham United for as long as I have knows that optimism can be dangerous.

Fans of most clubs learn to be cynical about success, knowing an injury or two or a few dodgy decisions can soon spoil a run of good results. ‘It’s the hope I can’t stand’, as someone once put it. It’s better to be cynical from the start, most would say.

The Christian festival of Easter is about the triumph of hope over cynicism, of light over darkness, and life over death. Throughout Holy Week, we remember the story of the events leading up to Jesus’s arrest, trial and execution by crucifixion, and so much seems to be about the victory of evil over good. By the Friday - ‘Good’ Friday - we’ve reached what feels like the end: If being nailed to a cross and left to die is failure, it must have felt like Jesus had failed. Good Friday represents failure: The end of hope.

For many in our world, every day feels like Good Friday. Hope feels like a dangerous emotion. Disaster awaits around the corner. Better to be resigned to our fate than hopeful about the future. And if you’re going through a tough time, whether because of illness or need or worry, you might well feel like that.

But the message of this week is ‘it might be Good Friday, but Sunday’s coming’. it’s a message of hope that’s as relevant today as it ever was.

Whether you’re a Christian or not, there’s no doubting that something remarkable happened that Sunday to Jesus Christ to turn his followers’ despair into joy. People who had run away in terror on the night of Jesus’s arrest were, days later, living lives full of courage and expectation. That’s not to say that Friday hadn’t been bad; but Easter Sunday blew it away.

We can all choose whether to live our lives in fear and darkness, or in hope and light.

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It’s about declaring that we’re going to look for the best, hope for the best, and be the best that we can be.

Happy Easter, everybody.