Archbishop of Canterbury: The resurrection changed the world - because it happened

Ruth Gledhill

The Archbishop of Canterbury preached a powerful Easter message today on the power of the resurrection to deliver hope even in the face of pain, despair and death.

Archbishop Justin Welby said in his Easter sermon at Canterbury Cathedral that the Christian gospel runs 'utterly counter' to the world, a world where there is still evil.

'Christians in Egypt live surrounded by bombs and terror. We and those we love know the grim, grey moments of illness, suffering, arguments, poverty, ill health mental and physical, prison, guilt and failure.

'We experience a world of pain and despair, grief and death.'

These things must not be allowed to overshadow our lives, he said.

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'They lie, they deceive, they pretend to have power that they do not have, when they say they are final.

'There is only one finality: Jesus the crucified one is alive. In the hard journeys we all face, in every moment of loss, the community of witnesses to the resurrection must come alongside and, with love and gentleness, bring restoration and hope.'

He added: 'In our world today the only certain ground for hopeful expectation is the news of today; it happened, Jesus is alive.'

Archbishop Welby was speaking during sung eucharist.

He said terror cannot triump over Christianity, because the resurrection happened.

'Today across Egypt, but most poignantly at St George's church Tanta and St Mark's church Alexandria, God's people have already gathered to worship the One who was dead and is now alive.

'Seven days after the horrendous bomb attacks on these Christian communities the resurrection will be proclaimed and experienced. Because the church is established by this day.'

The witnesses are those who met him.

'Laid stone cold dead in Joseph's tomb on Friday, on Sunday morning the tomb is empty, he is physically, bodily, tangibly alive. Why would we presume to know better than these first witnesses what took place?'

What brings the faithful out to worship in Tanta and Alexandria is truth. 'It happened. The resurrection is an event which – although never experienced before or since – changes everything because it happened.'

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