Easter is a time of sacrifice and hope – easy words to write, but more difficult to translate into life today.

For Christians, this is when Jesus was prepared to suffer hours of torture and eventual death in order that we might be forgiven our sins.

It is probably one of the hardest concepts in the Bible.

What it does, however, is show that God knows what true suffering is, and in 2017, it is reassuring to understand that!

We seem to have been battered down this last few years.

We have seen the innocent suffer through the barbaric cruelty of ISIS, the use of nerve gas in Syria.

We have seen innocents mowed down by the latest “fashion” in terrorism – ploughing vehicles into crowds of people who are doing no more than going about their daily business.

We have seen child abuse in our own country, homelessness, poverty and despair.

All these are the people who paid the sacrifice and all their loved ones were left to suffer.

In all these cases, the victims did not choose sacrifice. That was thrust upon them by evil people and evil deeds.

But there are those who have been willing to sacrifice their lives, their time and their efforts for the good of others.

Doctors, nurses, aid workers - all those who respond to humanitarian needs even at risk of their own lives. Their’s is true sacrifice.

Not everyone has the opportunity to be heroic but they can make their mark in other ways.

They sacrifice their time and energy to make this a better place.

The first thing that springs to mind in our area is the people who have fought, fought and then came back and fought some more to try and preserve our health services.

There are staff members who have risked their jobs to speak out. There are those hundreds and thousands who wrote letters or signed petitions and, behind all of those, were the people organising, encouraging and ensuring thatnot one single service, not one single bed, would be removed from Cumbria without a fight.

I joined the health protest march in Carlisle last weekend.

I was sitting on a bench with a man at the other end when a woman sat down between us.

“Another protest!” she said scathingly.

“What’s this one for?”

The man spoke up before I could and told her the reason.

“It must be Labour then!” she said just as scathingly.

She got an earful from both ends of the bench and I hope she got the message – that these protestors were people putting themselves out for others.

Easter – a time for sacrifice and a time for hope.

But where is the hope this Easter?

You can find it throughout this column.

Our hope lies in all the people who are prepared to stand up and be counted. Our hope is in those who put personal needs aside to help others.

We see it in the people of this county, this nation and indeed this world when people rise up and dig deep to help others.

I have raved on until I am boring in this column about how I admire the people who turn tragedy into something positive.

A child dies or becomes ill, a family is struck by tragedy and loss – and the first thing they do is start raising money for causes that might prevent others from having to face the same tragedy.

The Easter message is about a Divine being who laid down his life for us and was resurrected on the third day.

The Easter message today is also about us. We are the ones that perpetuate the evil that demands sacrifice but we are also the hope for the future in the way rise to that sacrifice. Happy Easter.