Last week I visited a remarkable charity called Chapter 1, together with Bishop Paul Hendricks from the Roman Catholic Church.
It was part of a series of such visits to places of social action being undertaken up and down the country by Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops.
Chapter 1 have their head office at Waterloo, and they provide housing and support for vulnerable people who have usually experienced great difficulties in their lives.
What is needed is someone to come alongside, in a non-judgemental and caring way, to enable them to begin to re-build and to find new hope.
Chapter 1 does just that, seeking to ‘change lives one by one’ and there are some amazing and heart-rending individual stories.
It is a very well run and professional charity which supports any who might come in need regardless of age, faith, culture or social background.
Behind the work of Chapter 1 is a strong Christian ethos which believes in the unique worth of each individual, and the power of love and care to change lives.
In many ways this captures the heart of the Easter message.
The story of Jesus Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection may initially seem disconnected from today’s world and somewhat fantastical.
However, when we begin to engage deeply with it, as countless millions of people have done, it tells us that behind the complexity and chaos of our lives, and the immensity of the Universe, there is a deeper power at work which we can all embrace.
The deep love of God is always alongside us no matter how bleak and difficult life may seem at times. God has identified with us in the closest possible way in the life of Jesus, including in our suffering and our mortality.
Easter is about Resurrection, the New Life which the transforming power of God’s love can bring to us and to our world.
That Love is no abstract myth, but a practical day to day reality, as shown in the work of Chapter 1.
It is a love which never gives up, even in the face of the worst that life can bring. It is a love which transcends even death itself.
The Easter message calls us to embrace that way of God’s love, to change both ourselves and our world. It brings hope and new direction both for this life and what lies beyond.
Bishop Richard Cheetham Bishop of Kingston