Bishop Steven Croft said: "On Easter Day, Christians remember our baptism. In normal times, there would be baptisms as we gather in church on Easter Sunday, but instead, this year I would like to invite you to think about the renewal of the promises we made when we were baptised and confirmed.
"We remember our baptism on this Easter day because when we were baptised, we are baptised into Christ’s death. There is a radical new beginning. Our old self is crucified. We come through the waters and rise to new life in Jesus Christ. Today, we are doing so much more than remembering an event in history. We are celebrating this gift of new life which is offered to all of humankind for all time, because Christ died and rose again.
“So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above (Colossians 3.1).
"This text from Colossians is probably taken from a letter to people who have recently been baptised – it may even be from a very early Easter sermon and it provides us with a powerful, radical thought. The resurrection is something we share in. The resurrection transforms more than the length of our life, but also the depth of our life here and in eternity.
"Even in the midst of pain and suffering, we are to continue to seek the things that are above. In the words of this Eucharist, we are to lift our hearts to the Lord: perhaps this year our tired and bruised and broken hearts.
"As I look back over this year of pain and trauma, that is what I see Christians doing: lifting up their hearts; lifting up others in prayer; comforting the sick and bereaved; caring for those in need, and I want to thank you for your part in that.
"The year ahead may be just as challenging, but in different ways. We will need all the resources of our faith. We will need to remember each day that we have been raised with Christ and to seek the things that are above. So lift up your hearts this day and in all the days to come."
You can listen to Bishop Steven’s full Easter sermon for the Diocesan Church at Home service by live streaming the service here: https://www.oxford.anglican.org/coronavirus-covid-19-2/livestream/?#tab-id-5