Back in 2000 I was honoured to be part of a British and Irish churches' team supporting an interreligious peace delegation from Sri Lanka on a visit to build solidarity links here. One of the participants was Duleep de Chickera, now Anglican Bishop of Colombo. A remarkable man, his 2010 Easter message of hope has a resonance both within and beyond the particular tragedies of Sri Lanka.
Many thanks to Ekklesia associate Savitri Hensman for forwarding this.
Jesus experienced a violent death through a distortion of the truth. He was called a blasphemer, accused of sedition and then put to death on a cross. But this was not the last word; it never is. God raised Jesus from the dead to announce that truth and love will finally prevail over distortion and violence.
Consequently Easter is the festival that calls us to strive against the evil that humans impose on each other and to rise to that new sustainable life of freedom and generosity that God offers all.
But for this to become a reality we are called to name the distortions and violence that torment us. It is when we perceive these realities and allow them to judge us all that we will shift from arrogance and indifference to repentance and forgiveness. It is then that the healing and reconciliation we long for, will raise us to a new life of justice, interdependence and freedom.
Then, no child will be thrown into the river by a desperate mother and no mother will mourn the senseless killing of a son.
Then, the poor will not be driven to seek employment in distant lands and no journalist will seek refuge away from the land of his birth.
Then, none will languish in refugee camps and all will be free to move and build their houses anywhere.
Then, our children will be protected and cared for and our elders cherished and affirmed.
Then, our people will stand up for their rights and our politicians will seek to serve and not to be served.
Then, confrontation and theories of conspiracy will give way to dialogue and compromise.
Then, our elections will be fair, free and non-violent and none will be politically marginalised.
Then, no Sri Lankan will be second class and each will respect and celebrate the other .
Then, the truth will set us free and we will be a resurrected people moving from darkness to light and despair to hope.
Then, the risen Lord will make His face to shine upon us and give us His peace.
With Peace and Blessings to all.
The Rt Rev Duleep de Chickera
Bishop of Colombo
As a footnote, Duleep contributed to a small publication which documented a reciprocal visit by a British and Irish delegation to Sri Lanka. I wrote a foreword on behalf of the CTBI Churches' Commission on Mission. See: Elizabeth Harris (ed.), Sri Lanka: Making Peace Possible (Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, 2001).