Star comment: In tough times we still have much to be grateful for

Wise words from bishop on a day of reflection.

The Bishop of Lichfield, Dr Michael Ipgrave
The Bishop of Lichfield, Dr Michael Ipgrave

The Bishop of Lichfield and other church leaders today give their Easter messages.

They speak of a world in difficult times, with war in Europe and a cost of living crisis here.

Good Friday is a solemn day for Christians. It is a day for reflection, to recognise that mankind can be cruel but that forgiveness and good can overcome evil.

Bishop Michael chooses to reflect on the generosity of people, even in the most difficult of times. He says it is often those with less to give who give the most. Many column inches are given to evil in this world.

But recent events have also shown how, overwhelmingly, people are good. The response of the population in offering help to Ukraine through collections and offers of homes, has been outstanding, as is the rise of community-led foodbanks to help those in need at home.

We should never forget that there are a million acts of kindness happening around us every hour of the day.

While we live in an increasingly non-Christian society, the principles are ones that all can take to heart. Being kind, doing unto others as we would wish them to do to us, looking out for society’s poorest and most vulnerable are all values that many people hold.

As we mark Good Friday, we should consider the need to find forgiveness and hope, of the importance of looking to the future and making sure we offer a hand up to those who need it.

It is also a time of letting go of trials and tribulations and having gratitude for what we have. We live in a wealthy nation in a privileged part of the world. Hard though things are, there are many whose lives are much tougher, more precarious and more fraught.

Boris Johnson’s new arrangement with Rwanda leaves open many unanswered questions.

Many are logistical. Simply how is the UK going to force these refugees on to a plane to Africa? In handcuffs and chains, presumably.

Some are legal. Mr Johnson concedes there will be challenges in the courts against this policy. That many push it back months, years, or it may never happen at all.

That leads to Keir Starmer’s accusation that this had little to do with the issue of asylum seekers and everything to do with diverting attention from problems that remain, literally, at home for the PM.

Mr Johnson’s tactic in getting away from Partygate is to come up with other things to do.

After acting as statesman in Ukraine, he has now come up with a wheeze involving paying another country to literally remove a problem from our shores.

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