Monday, June 24, 2024

A Bigger Vision

by Right Rev. Stephen Cottrell

by Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York

Back in 2004, I was asked to write the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book which was called ‘I Thirst’. The book is sort of an extended meditation on the words that Jesus speaks in St John’s Gospel. This is not just about the thirst of his suffering—he died a horrible death—but also of the thirst of his love for all of humanity.

Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York

‘I Thirst’ was meant for people to read during Lent, may be gathered in small numbers to pray and to study together. In the introduction I wrote this: “Lent is supposed to be a time when we review our spiritual life, think again about what it means to be a follower of Christ, reset the compass of our discipleship and prepare ourselves to celebrate our Easter festivals. But, often we just give up biscuits”. Those words got quoted quite a lot at the time. On the one hand, there is this big vision, where we are challenged to reset our lives, to turn away from sin and move towards a new life, and what do we actually do—we give up biscuits!

So this Easter, I wonder what you might be doing to capture a bigger vision of what your life could be like? We have all been through a tough time. Many of us have experienced loss and hardship. Sadly, there is likely to be more to come. Tough times often make us take stock and ask the big questions of life. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ can offer some answers and bring hope. His love for each and every one of us knows no bounds. His longing for us to know that love and the transformation that his love can bring in turn enables us to bring positive changes to the way that we live in community with one another, changing lives one heart at a time.

Be encouraged, take heart, and join me this Easter in being willing to participate more in God’s agenda. Let’s capture a vision for a world where we each bring peace and justice. ‘Embracing Justice’ is the Church of England’s theme for Lent 2022. It invites us to examine our own lives truthfully, to see the world more deeply and to pray.

God’s door is always open, the kettle is always on. The biscuits are optional!

Right Rev. Stephen Cottrell
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