An Easter message from the Most Rev Alan Harper, OBE, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.
The origins of ‘holidays’ in ‘holy days’ means that for hundreds of thousands of people, this Easter weekend has become an opportunity for a break, often involving taking to the roads or skies.
For many of those who do not associate Easter with a holy day, I suspect it has become an annual flight or escape from everyday life. For Christian believers, however, whether spent at home or elsewhere, Easter is the great flight to reality – the reality that Christ is risen and that those who are in Christ have risen with Him. It is the pivotal holy day of the year.
Easter is precious and foundational not just as the remembrance of a past event, but also as the celebration of our death and subsequent rebirth through the waters of baptism.
The everyday reality of the life that we live in Christ is a transformed and transcendent life – not a life insulated from drudgery, pain and mortality but a life lived beyond the captivity of our fears and frailty.
We celebrate Easter as the Feast of the Restoration of Mankind, the event horizon through which we pass enabling us to lay hold of a true humanity, for the divine took on and then surrendered the wholeness of humanity to show us and help us to become who and what we already truly are.
Today, as we have become increasingly aware, the convictions of Christians are publicly challenged and this may be especially so at Easter. Nevertheless, indeed more so than ever, let the declaration ring out: ‘Christ is Risen, and those who are in Christ have risen with him!’