As we approach these most holy of days in our Christian year, we follow Jesus as he walks to the cross.
We hear again the cries of Good Friday:
My God, My God why have you forsaken me?
Father into your hands I commend my Spirit…
We wait through the silence of Holy Saturday – in the sure and certain hope of Christ’s resurrection on Easter Day.
We follow, this year, knowing that yet more Christians have been murdered and maimed for their faith.
We pray that Anglicans across this Church would add their prayers to those being offered for our brothers and sisters in the Coptic Churches in Egypt.
We pray especially for those killed or injured in the Palm Sunday bombings and for their loved ones.
We pray too, for those so consumed by hatred that they resort to such barbaric acts and claim to do so in the name of the God of Abraham.
Muslims and Christians have lived in mutual respect in the villages and communities of the Nile Valley for generations: May the depth of their relationships give them resilience in the face of the twisted ambition of extremists.
We pray too, for those members of our own communities in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia who, because of their faith, become targets of bigotry and prejudice at times such as this.
As disciples of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, we recommit ourselves to work for understanding, dialogue and mutual respect between peoples of different faiths in our own communities.
Let us also recommit ourselves to working for a fair, just and generous society in which the gifts and contributions of all people can flourish, and the tares of alienation and extremism find no soil in which to take root.
This Easter may the peace that passes all understanding keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of God's son Jesus Christ our Lord, and may the blessing of God, the holy and blessed Trinity rest on all people.
Archbishop Winston Halapua
Archbishop Philip Richardson