When some one we love dies, when we are confronted with an uncomfortable truth or when something we have toiled over fails it is very hard to hold on to the hope of a better tomorrow.
For Christians, the crucifixion of Good Friday is not a full-stop but a marker that points to the empty tomb. The redemptive action of Christ on the cross is not complete with out the resurrection.
On Easter Sunday morning I woke my children up while it was still dark. They were sleepy but very excited as this was the first year where they had understood the significance of Easter and were keen to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and, it must be noted, the Easter-Egg hunt that was to follow.
So in the pre-dawn light we gathered at Suva Point; members of Dudley and Wesley Churches, singing hymns of praise to God, to the Risen Lord. Other Christians from different denomination also gathered to worship in word and song, to pray and baptise.
I would like to share with you some excerpts from my Easter Sunday reflection given in the cool sea breeze as dawn broke ushering in the new day and symbolising a new life.
In Luke’s Gospel (24:1-12) we find the women who on being told that Jesus has risen, recall the prophecy and rush to tell the good news to the disciples. We also find the disciples reluctant to believe both the women (an issue that still lingers), as well as the truth. Peter rushes to the tomb but only peeps in and walks away wondering what happened.
What type of people are we then, when faced with the confusing situation that our we find ourselves in? How do we ensure our hope remains resilient in the midst of the storm now brewing?
With the resurrection, Christians can look to a new future, with a new hope which is Jesus Christ. His conquering of sin and death reminds us that the kingdom of God is at hand and that we are citizens of that kingdom, where an eternal constitution has been written in His blood.
My favourite hymn is one that is hardly sung. In the Methodist English Hymnbook it is hymn #900.
“I vow to thee, my country all earthly things above.
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love.
A love that asks no questions, a love that stands the test;
that lays upon the altar the dearest and the best.
A love that never falters, a love that pays the price;
a love that makes undaunted, the final sacrifice.
But there’s another country I’ve heard of long ago.
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know.
We may not count her armies; we may not see her king.
Her fortress is a loving heart, her pride is suffering.
And soul by soul and silently, her shining bounds increase.
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.”
Just as the rising sun beckons us to a new day, so the Risen Son beckons us to a new life. In the resurrected Lord we are a new creation.
Let us not be like Peter, spending our days wondering what happened and what will happen. Let us live the commandment of the Risen Lord to love each other as He loves us. Let us spend time expressing our love of God in the love of our neighbours, regardless of how many walls are built between us. Let us gain strength, not in force of arms, but by the power of prayer. And let us share the peace of God with each other in practical ways.
The living Jesus takes hold of our tired lives and breathes into us His power.
He takes hold of our sinful lives and offers a wonderful new beginning through forgiveness.
He takes hold of lives that appear lost and gives them new purpose and meaning even in the most difficult circumstances as we face in Fiji today.
He comes to challenge a selfish world with the possibility of a new beginning which involves love and concern for others.
Despite all the uncertainty that faces this nation, we have two certainties that we can look to: the empty cross on which Jesus died for us; and the empty tomb which tells us that He is not there.
The Resurrection of Jesus may be a once in history event, but that does not mean that resurrection cannot take place in our lives, in our families, in our communities, in our nation and in the world daily. Hope may wither, it may die, but it can always be resurrected. Hope, like love and truth is eternal.
May your week be blessed with light, love, peace and hope.