Embrace the spirit of hope

Embrace the spirit of hope

A message for Easter 2013 from the President of the Uniting Church in Australia, the Rev. Professor Andrew Dutney.

“Greetings! … Do not be afraid.”

On the very first Easter Sunday, these were the first words Jesus said to his disciples after his resurrection.

In the face of this joyous news, how did they respond?

They cowered in fear. Some doubted his existence.

“Do not be afraid.”

It’s as though Jesus knew what kind of a response his resurrection would provoke.

Fear, panic and disbelief are all familiar responses to us today.

How often in our lives do we respond this way, when the truth is staring us in the face?

Easter is a time to remind ourselves of the victory over fear that Christ’s resurrection brings.

The fulfilment of God’s promise that lives lived righteously need have no fear of what lies ahead.

Earlier this year I joined young leaders of the Uniting Church from all over the country in Sydney.

One of the exercises required us to face our fears and help those with conquer theirs.

Some people are afraid of snakes.

Others fear people who are different.

What we learned was that when we care for and support one another in our mission, those fears aren’t so scary.

People’s greatest fear is probably the fear of death.

Be it their own, their loved ones, or even the institutions they hold dear.

Some of us get so afraid that some of us get paralysed or run away and hide.

Today Australian churches face many challenges.

Yet when we open our eyes and look closely — there is always renewal and hope for future.

In the future our church may not look the same or be exactly the same as it is now.

But I am sure our mission and commitment to upholding Christian values and principles will as strong as ever:

  • the importance of every human being
  • the need for integrity in public life, and
  • the proclamation of truth and justice as well as our pledge to seek the correction of injustices wherever they occur.

As we celebrate Easter, let us all take a deep breath, lay down our fears and embrace the spirit of hope that comes through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

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