“Breaking the Silence” by the Rt Revd Nicholas Chamberlain, Bishop of Grantham
‘Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!”’ – John 20.16
With two words, everything changes.
Silence is broken and out of the darkness of night and the sadness of mourning comes the gift of a new beginning: The first Easter.
Whenever I hear these words, I am filled with hope.
With Mary, I have been waiting: I have experienced love and loss; I have acknowledged sin; I have faced the cross.
Will I be able to speak this Easter as Mary spoke that first Easter? Will I have the courage to utter my own words of love as I respond to the God who calls me by name? I pray that I might.
As I have pondered so many different things this Lent, one of the things that has struck me most is the power of silence. Silence can be good. However, silence can also imprison and disempower.
Many LGBT+ people have experienced the disempowerment of silence and of being silenced. Thankfully, many LGBT+ people have also found our voices. We do not speak with the same tone – we are all different – but we have learnt the importance of authentic speech, and we have learnt how to speak well in difficult contexts.
The Church in its different denominations needs people who can speak authentic words of love now. The Church is called to serve a fractured world, tired and divided in many ways. In order to serve that world, the Church needs to draw on the skills and the faith and the courage and the humility of all Christians.
On this joyful Easter Day, as I stand beside the Easter fire in the fens of Lincolnshire, I will be praying that God’s people will shake off fear, ignorance and prejudice and reach out to each other and to the world in love – and that we will do this whatever our gender identity, sexuality or personal circumstances – relishing in the skills, companionship and difference of all who stand alongside us.
Who calls us all into being
and who grants the free gift of resurrection life,
Help us to respond to your gift with joy
and to share the good news of your love
with all with whom we live our lives.
In Jesus’ name.
Thank you for taking part in our #VoicesofHope Lent journey – please could you take just a few minutes to give us your feedback on the series?