Rowan Williams’ Easter Sermon
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, delivered a beautiful easter sermon today. Here are a couple powerful excerpts:
And so when we proclaim all this today, we as Christians are charged to address ourselves to two different sorts of delusion. On the one hand: we face a culture in which the thought of death is too painful to manage. Individuals live in anxious and acquisitive ways, seizing what they can to provide a security that is bound to dissolve, because they are going to die. Societies or nations do the same. Whether it is the individual grabbing the things of this world in just the repetitive, frustrating sameness that we have seen to be already in fact the mark of an inner deadness, or the greed of societies that assume there will always be enough to meet their desires – enough oil, enough power, enough territory – the same fantasy is at work. We shan’t really die – we as individuals can’t contemplate an end to our acquiring, and we as a culture can’t imagine that this civilization like all others will collapse and that what we take for granted about our comforts and luxuries simply can’t be sustained indefinitely. To all this, the Church says, somberly, don’t be deceived: night must fall.
The vital significance of the Church in this society, in any human society, is its twofold challenge – first, challenging human reluctance to accept death, and then challenging any human acceptance of death without hope, of death as the end of all meaning. Death is real; death is overcome. We are mortal, and that is basic to who and what we are as humans. But equally we are creatures made so as to hear the call of God, a call that no power in heaven or earth can silence. That conviction is the foundation of all we say about human dignities and rights, and it is the heart of our Easter hope. The gospel, by insisting on both our limits and our eternal hope in God, safeguards equally the humility and realism we need for mature human life and the sense of a glory embodied in our mortality because it has been touched by God. Death is real; death is overcome. On that basis we claim to have a word to speak to our world that can renew every corner, every aspect, of our humanity.