The fact that the date of Easter varies from year from year is an irritation to many in today’s secular world. It means nothing to them that it is set by the date of Passover, the commemoration of the People of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, which itself is celebrated at the first full moon after the Spring Equinox on 21 March.

To me it seems fortunate that, though the date of Easter falls on a different date every year, we live in a part of the world where it is always in spring, the season when we are reminded of the pattern of death and resurrection by the natural world. Everything bursts into new life at just the time that we are celebrating the new and eternal life of Jesus risen from the tomb. The vivid and bright greens of the hedgerows together with the radiant yellow of the daffodils combine with the chorus of song birds to proclaim that the reign of winter is ended and life is bursting forth anew.

This should surely be an indication to us that death and resurrection are built into the nature of things. We see the pattern all around us just as we see it in all its fullness on the stage of human history in the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord. We should also expect to find it reflected in our own experience.

New life has burst into my life in the most wonderful way during the last few months as a result of my relationship with and marriage to H-J. It came after a long period of what I have described as a wilderness, a period of distress and sadness following bereavement.

My hope and prayer for all of us this Easter is that, even if we feel trapped in what feels like an enduring experience of pain and dereliction, we shall have faith that love will triumph; that resurrection life is waiting round the corner for all of us. May we know deep within our hearts that resurrections will follow crucifixion as sure as spring follows winter, as sure as day follows night. May we know that death will not have the last word but that life and love will prevail.

Bishop John.