Archbishop of Canterbury to urge flock not to succumb to fear


The Archbishop of Canterbury is to warn people not to succumb to fear caused by the Belgian terrorist attacks, which he will say are a sign of a "world at war with itself, of faiths at each other's throats".

The Most Rev Justin Welby is expected to say in his Easter Sunday sermon at Canterbury Cathedral, Kent, that although the world is shocked by the week's events, Easter is a chance to trust in God who provides "life, hope and purpose".

He is expected to say: "In the shadow of this week's darkness, hope can seem far far away. And fear can feel so close.

"In much of life fear is a valid and reasonable emotion, but hope always overcomes fear. We fear what we do not know, do not understand or cannot control. But on Easter Day we remember that Jesus Christ overcame death so that the end of all things is known.

"Jesus Christ revealed the truth so that one day everyone will live in truth. Jesus Christ put all things into the hand of God so that nothing is beyond God's control.

"In short, on Easter Day, hope decisively overcame fear and we Christians are called to be witnesses to the hope that is found only in Jesus Christ."

He continues: "Fear is reasonable, a normal human reaction. This week has shocked all of us, and risks causing us to act fearfully, to see a world in which fear triumphs. Easter proclaims to us in flesh and blood that fear and death and terror are not the last words. God has spoken life, hope and purpose. 

"Terror speaks of a world at war with itself, of Faiths at each other's throats. Jesus Christ reaches out not in exclusion but in embrace, this is the feast of the victory of God, and we celebrate in the midst of darkness, by our worship and praise shining an unquenchable light.

"That is the light the women encountered as, full of sorrow and despair, they went to the tomb. They had watched Jesus, whom they had accompanied from Galilee, arrested, tried and executed, in the space of a few hours.

"All expectation was betrayed, all achievement vitiated, by the evil acts of powerful and indifferent rulers.

"When the whole stream of events flows the wrong way then it is hard to endure, hard to trust the victory of God. That is the reality for so many. This is the reality - or is it?"