His written message (below), The B Word, Bishop Andy reflects on the negative impact of Brexit discussions in our society and asks what can be reclaimed.
In his Easter video message, Rise Up and Walk, Bishop Andy talks to a widower, Jonno Jones as well as visiting Pont ar Fynach, Abergeirw near Trawsfynydd – the site of an early Christian grave – asking what Jesus’ empty grave means for us as we celebrate Easter this year.
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The B Word
Whatever the outcome of the Brexit discussions in Parliament and elsewhere, one thing is a great deal clearer than that outcome: this has been difficult for us as a nation. It isn’t just a question of whether Brexit is a good thing or not but that as a country we are more divided than at any time in the last 70 years. The level of public discourse has eroded, the level of trust in politicians and institutions has diminished and the silos of difference have led to horrible ideologies being normalized. We have only to recall the terrible events in New Zealand to see what happens when hatred is allowed to flourish.
The Bible is uncompromising in its condemnation of this kind of hostility. The word ‘evil’ has lost a good deal of its former strength but none of its relevance. Reclaiming a language which captures the gravity of dreadful human action seems to me long overdue if we are to value and respect one another.
However, I suspect we need a great deal more than reclaimed ideas at this point: we need new hearts and minds. The resurrection of Jesus is not just a piece of history, it’s about the way Jesus Christ encounters us now. This encounter opens the door to a better way of being human where relationships are capable of transformation and a less self-centred way of living becomes possible.
In recent months I have begun exploring some of the ancient holy wells in the Diocese (of Bangor) – places of former gathering and healing. Many of them are now overgrown and in danger of being lost. I was reminded of one of the less well-known stories of the Bible where an early leader of God’s people reopens drinking wells which had long been closed. The point of the story is that deep sources of life are easily lost but can still be reclaimed.
We cannot press rewind to a time before Brexit but we can revisit what is deep, life giving and capable of sustaining us and our communities in love and respect. In short, we can revisit how Christ makes everything new and enables new and better relationships to flourish. This is the power and gift of Easter and the risen Christ for us.