Cord's Fundraising Manager, Nick Thorley, shares his reflections on how we can be agents of resurrection in our own lives:

I regularly contribute to BBC Radio Nottingham’s Sunday morning Breakfast Show with a Thought for the Day. When I was asked to record something for Easter Sunday, I found myself wondering what to say. On one hand it’s the most hopeful day of the year. On the other hand, I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed by recent events in the world. So how do we bring those things together? How does the resurrection power of Easter relate to war, climate change and suffering? What does it mean for me? What does it mean for the world?

And then, at the start of this week, I heard an incredibly inspiring podcast with Richard Beck. He unpacked ideas of hope, love and resurrection. It really helped me to grasp something new and exciting. I’ve been dwelling on these thoughts throughout Holy Week.

I also think they’re so helpful when we think about Cord’s work. Working in such challenging contexts can be so difficult and complicated. Short term gains are not always possible. We have to take a long-term approach. But however hard it is, however complicated, in the peacebuilding work that you make possible, we are practising resurrection. So here’s my thought for Easter Sunday 2022:

I don’t know who you admire the most, in whose skill and talent you marvel? Maybe you love sport and a particular player or team consistently makes you leap from your seat. Perhaps you’re into music and there’s a performer who utterly compels you. Perhaps it’s an actor, an artist or a designer. It’s beautiful when we watch someone doing what they do best, especially when it looks graceful  and appears to be effortless.

I recently heard a documentary on the radio about the former BBC TV and Radio presenter Terry Wogan. One of the contributors said something really interesting. He said that there was something called the Wogan curse. He said that because Terry Wogan made things look so incredibly easy, everyone thought that they could do his job. He said that this put huge pressure on just about every other presenter. People would judge and criticize them remorselessly because, from what they’d seen of Wogan, it was an easy job that anyone could do.

In reality of course, to be that good, to look as though what you do doesn’t need any effort, takes a huge amount of time and practice. The greatest players, musicians, broadcasters and performers hone their skills by rehearsing what they do over and over again.

What do you practise?

On this day, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. We rejoice in Him rising from the dead and blazing the trail of new creation. We find peace and joy in the prospect of new life, new beginnings, liberation, freedom and hope. Wherever there is grief or pain or loss, wherever things seem completely hopeless and broken, Easter reminds us that God brings new life from death.

But as we think of the world at the moment, if you’re anything like me, you find it difficult to know that hope this Easter. A terrible war rages in Ukraine, a seemingly inescapable environmental emergency is upon us, thousands face uncertainty with the cost-of-living crisis and inflation at a 30 year high. It really can feel overwhelming and disempowering.

In his wonderful poem, Wendell Berry invites us to practise resurrection. In our every day lives, with the people we meet, in the situations we find ourselves in, he encourages us to embody hope and new life. I recently heard the Christian Psychologist Richard Beck reflecting on this idea. He suggested that its too easy to be overwhelmed by the geo-political issues. But, that day by day, each one of us will find ourselves in situations that call for hope and love. Richard Beck says that it’s not easy, that we will often be unsure as to how best to show loving kindness that could bring hope and healing. But, if we practise, if we keep trying, then maybe we’ll become better at it.

As we celebrate Easter and think of that empty tomb, let’s commit ourselves, not to getting it right all the time or even knowing what to do in the situations in which we find ourselves. Let’s just commit to practising resurrection.