Chairs' Easter Message 2019:
An Easter for the welfare (and common good) of all?
As we face this Easter, there’s righteous anger and indignation felt by many around London, and Britain in general, at the many (mostly young) lives lost through knife crime. The unabating nature of these attacks has exuded palpable frustrations amongst all people of religion and those of none. Needless to say, the majority of serious violent crimes seem centred around poor and financially deprived communities. Even at the writing of this Easter message, there are many families who are struggling with the loss of young lives and the end of the pain seems nowhere in sight.
With this stark and grim picture, what kind of Easter can we characterise this year to be? An Easter for the welfare (and common good) of all?
Christ is Risen Indeed, Hallelujah!
The very act of Jesus Christ sacrificially giving His life to die a cruel death on the cross accounts for grim recollections; of the one and only Son of God paying the price for the sins [iniquities] of many. In humbly riding on a donkey into Jerusalem in the Triumphal Entry, one may argue; that celebration and singing of the ‘hosannas’ and thanksgiving for ‘He Who comes in the name of the Lord’ was just the lull before the Maundy Thursday gathering shadows (darkness) and the outpouring of the Good Friday storm! How could they? Why would they? How can they be allowed to get away with it? Questions I suppose mulled in the minds of many around that time. Surely God would intervene and save His only begotten Son? God didn’t, and He wouldn’t!
Easter Day offers a clear message of the God who would stand in the gap for the welfare of all people. The events of Holy Week leading to Easter Day, i.e. Resurrection Sunday; clearly depict the compassionate, caring and provider God who will not leave the salvation of humanity to the machinations of human intent. In the words of Genesis 22:13, God chose to provide the sacrificial lamb as he acknowledged the hapless state of humans to extricate themselves from ‘sticky’ situations. This obedience Abraham displayed, not withholding his only treasure (see Gen. 22:12) awakened the compassionate and parental-heart of God. Hence in John 3:16 we recollect the amazing love of God for all in His world that “He gave His one and only Son” so that as John 3:17 indicates, all might be saved through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. God comes to humanity’s rescue in the events of Easter and humanity is called to let go of impermanent treasures and gather that which is permanent, the salvation offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. This salvation is not merely located in a particular time but by the confession of II Corinthians 4:13[b], is brought to bear even in our contemporary days: “…since we have (we’re given) that same spirit of faith, we also believe…” then verse 14, “because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus…”.
Our welfare is not just promised but fully taken care of and provided for in the incarnate God. It’s not just Easter, not just a long weekend, it is God taking care of our welfare; “15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” II Corinthians 4: 15-18.
Therefore, Easter Day is still the Resurrection of hope and redemption. In spite of all the woes our world faces, God in Christ Jesus, has come to our rescue (c.f. Exodus 3:7-8 & Matthew 28:5-7). As we receive God’s provision for our salvation through the death of Jesus Christ, may we also give of ourselves to rise with Christ and accentuate the welfare, care and provision for the migrant, the refugee and the rough sleeper; for in that way everyone’s welfare is considered and Christ is risen indeed!
We pray the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ will inspire hope-filled living to us all. May your Easter Day be blessed by the presence of the Risen Lord; Happy Easter!
Jongi and Nigel