Grahamstown

Dean’s Letter, April 16 2017, Easter Sunday

Dear Cathedral family

A very happy and blessed Easter to you all, on this Easter Day. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and his victory over sin and evil and death. All the powers of darkness, all the forces of evil, all the weight of sin, death itself, could not keep him in the grave. Through our baptism, we share in his risen life and in the power of his victory. We leave behind the old ways of sin; we embrace the way of Christ. We move from darkness to light. Our Easter liturgy summarises it: “By his death he has destroyed death, and by his rising again he has restored to us eternal life.”

What a week this has been, as we journeyed through Holy Week. And what a week this has been for our country, as well as for people in many parts of the world. I was horrified to hear the news of the suicide bomb attacks on Coptic churches in Egypt, on Palm Sunday. ISIS has claimed responsibility. Many were killed and more injured. We hold in prayer and love the Coptic church in Egypt, as well as the people of Palestine/Israel, Syria – with the ongoing civil war and suffering there – and Columbia, following the landslide there and the loss of life. We are connected to events all over the world, through the media; and so our prayers enfold all who suffer, wherever they may be.

We continue to hold before God, all in authority in our land. As one of the RC Sisters said to me at the end of the Vigil for our country, the Friday before Palm Sunday, prayer is our only weapon. We pray for a change of heart of those who misuse power and privilege; we pray for the conversion of all who rule our land; we pray for a spirit of compassion and integrity to guide our decisions. We pray that we may respond to God’s call to be instruments of hope; for wisdom to know what we need to do; and for the courage to act. This prayer, written by Bishop Geoff Quinlan, was sent to me a few days ago, and I share it with you all:

A Prayer for our Country
Lord, grant us a vision for our land; a land of justice, where none shall prey on others; a land of plenty, where poverty shall cease to fester; a land of work, where all can be employed, a land of openness, where all are accepted as equal; a land of healing, where hatred and racial prejudice exist no more; a land of peace which is free of violence; and bring this vision to fruition; for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

I ask that we observe the weeks between Easter Day and the Day of Pentecost – The Great Fifty Days – as a time of intense prayer for our country. The proposed parliamentary vote of no confidence in President Zuma, on April 18th, will be crucial, as are the efforts to have this vote done as a secret ballot, which will enable all MPs to vote with their conscience. The future of our country is on the line. What will be the outcome?

My love to you all