Rely on God, not people, says Archbishop

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The Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend Justin Welby

Archbishop Justin Welby has said in his Easter sermon that pinning hopes on individuals in politics and public life is "always a mistake". But he said Holy Week and Easter remind us of the power of God and the fallibility of human beings - lessons which liberate us to be merciful with each other.

Speaking at Canterbury Cathedral 10 days after his inauguration, the Archbishop of Canterbury used his first Easter sermon today to warn against "hero leader culture" in our public life.

Archbishop Justin said: "Setting people or institutions up to heights where they cannot but fail is mere cruelty. A cynical abandonment of all except my own security is as bad. One is ignorant of human nature and the other of God."

By contrast, he said, Holy Week and Easter "show us the reality of God and human beings."

The disciples, he said, had pinned all their hopes on Jesus - and on the people of Israel to recognise Him. But "the rulers of Israel held on to what they knew, for fear of something unexpected and worse, and did what we all do: failed to see the evidence of God in front of them."

The Archbishop continued: "It happens again and again. Familiar discomfort is often reassuring compared to the fearful consequences of change. Tenuous semblances of power are better than the apparent gamble on God's faithfulness."

But the reality of God and human beings emphasised over the Easter period, he said, is one "that equips us for action in the world, action that is based on hope and realism, not on cynicism or fear".

Archbishop Welby stressed that "a joyful and celebratory church is based not in vain human optimism but in the certainty that God raised Jesus from the dead and will also raise us.

"As a result we know our fallibility and become merciful with each other, we know God's call and never give up working for and expecting a new shape and life to the church."

He added: "God gives us life in all fullness when we open our lives to Him. The church heals lonely brokenness with love and forgiveness of one another. We find the grasp of the risen Jesus always making us new. We are aflame with the truth that Christ is risen, and life is filled with creative hope and purpose."

Source: Anglican Communion News Service

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