The Bishop of Bangor – the Right Reverend Andrew John – is pleased to release his Easter messages.
His written message (below), Less Monster, More Hope, reflects Bishop Andy’s thoughts on the Easter story in the light of trolling on social media.
To film his Easter video message, (above) Beautiful but Brutal, Bishop Andy made a journey to Bardsey Island, which lies 2 miles from Aberdaron on the tip of the Lleyn Peninsula, and ‘journey’ is a theme he explores.
Please do share and use these messages:
Video link : https://vimeo.com/261914011
This page : http://esban.net/negespasg2018
Facebook Link : https://www.facebook.com/Bangor546/posts/2083244505037697
Less Monster, More Hope
Recent examples of trolling on social media again raise questions about the extent to which the platform shows human behaviour at its worst rather than anything like its best. Even humorous and innocent interactions can invite scorn, derision and vilification. Is it any wonder the word ‘monster’ has become a verb to describe how to debase and destroy? When individuals are savaged from the safe distance of online anonymity, they are in effect ‘monstered’.
I find myself pondering the Easter story this year with new eyes as a result. A man is taken and physically brutalised in one of the most shocking and excruciating forms of torture known to humankind. But the motives and ambitions that led to this murder are more shocking still. It isn’t enough to snuff out any threat he posed, he must be ridiculed, parodied, humiliated and finally monstered by mock trial, stripped and finally crucified.
If this marked the end of the affair, it would have been deeply depressing. But when those who saw Jesus on Easter morning told their story, it wasn’t simply the fact he wasn’t in a tomb any longer. They spoke how, alive again, he changed their lives, he opened for them a way that was different, more whole and more real. He didn’t say life would be a bed of roses nor that they wouldn’t continue with struggles, but he showed them the reality of their lives, what was in their hearts and then how to be shaped by a God who isn’t defeated by death.
And this is what makes Easter a time of hope. It’s the message that my life, and yours, can be changed and marked less by the grime of bleak cynicism. What’s on offer is way of being human and real, which lifts us above this. And when all of life is embraced in this way, it’s no less extraordinary than what happened in a garden tomb 2000 years ago.