Christ’s message of hope
In his 2011 Easter message, the Rev. Dr Keith Garner, Superintendent of Wesley Mission, Sydney says Jesus Christ does not protect us from this world’s pain but does share it with us and promises eternal life.
“At Easter, our message is one of hope. However, it comes as many of us feel powerless to change either our lives or our circumstances.
“Life can overwhelm us as problems mount up. This happens in our personal relationships and on a global scale. Even relationships we value can leave us with a sense of disappointment and hurt.
“What a year we have had with floods, storms and earthquakes. The devastation and loss of life in Japan is beyond our comprehension.
“Life can seem as though it is gradually losing all its meaning … and attempting to carry the burdens of life can be crushing. It doesn’t take a natural disaster to jolt us into reality. But such disasters do shake our confidence.
“It is understandable that we look for something to hold onto; something that might enable us to stand firm. Jesus Christ faced the storms of life, seen in the cross … and his resurrection is compelling evidence of his care for this world, offering hope to people in the midst of their suffering.
“The message of Easter is about a new beginning and the opportunity to change. It’s more than just positive thinking. It is based on God’s love demonstrated in the pain and suffering of Jesus Christ.
“When we see our lives – and the world – in relation to God, we open ourselves up to the possibility of a new beginning. It is a response and a decision that is made in the deep places of our being.
“To take charge of our future, we need to be able to handle the past and find meaning in our present. It isn’t about simple answers … and how can you do that when your home has been swept away by flood – or, in New Zealand and Japan, when you have lost those close to you through devastating earthquakes? While it is true that disasters bring out the best in people, we are certainly still left with many unanswered questions.
“This message of Easter is that Jesus Christ has entered our perplexity, suffering for no justifiable reason and standing alongside us in our pain. God is not distant and detached, letting his universe wind up and wind down: Jesus Christ came to this earth, lived among us and was raised from the dead.
“He is with us in our struggles and challenges. He offers his hope to us this Easter – reaching out to us no matter what our circumstances. Here is friendship and love that is lasting and unconditional.
“Jesus Christ asks us to trust him. He does not protect us from this world’s pain, but he does share it with us and promises eternal life … Now, that is a message of hope!”
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