As soon as Christmas puddings are taken off the supermarket shelves, they seem to be quickly replaced with Hot Cross buns, closely followed by Easter eggs.
I do not know how long Hot Cross buns and Easter eggs have been used as symbols of Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection, but they are widely used to herald the Easter season in Australian supermarkets. Unfortunately, the effect of this secular market practice seems to be the devaluing of the precious message of the Easter story, the new birth of a living hope.
For the past 2000 years, Christians have continued to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Not just because they thought it was the most incredible event to have taken place in human history, but because they also saw in it a foretaste of the living hope found in Christ Jesus — and the fulfilment of Scripture.
With this faith in God, Jesus carried his cross.
And this living hope stemming from Jesus was based on a firm conviction that God, who gave him life, would not withdraw that life from him. With this faith in God, Jesus carried his cross. Having said “Father into your hands I commend my spirit!” in confident peace, he took his last breath. And on the third day, God brought him back from the dead, according to Scripture.
A Japanese contemporary artist, Miyajima, described the 20th Century as “Mega Death”. Indeed, there was a great deal of death in it, through wars, terrorism and natural disasters. We’ve also seen the extinction of many species, and catastrophic destruction of our natural environment.
In this 21st Century, we read of increasing numbers of broken relationships, personal and political, and we see the values and traditions that held communities together being lost as the world rushes into the tyranny of technology and the lure of materialism.
When we proclaim Christ is risen, we also proclaim a living hope in God’s new creation!
We experience a “mega death” every day. Such death can not only torment us but demoralise us with fear and uncertainty. We need a breakthrough and our world awaits a living hope.
On Easter morning, God in Christ Jesus, conquered death and enabled humankind to cast away fear and disbelief. Death is no longer the end of everything but a part and parcel of a true and whole life for God’s new creation. So when we proclaim Christ is risen, we also proclaim a living hope in God’s new creation!
Jesus heralded this new life when he said: “I came so that they may have life, and have it abundantly!” New life is experienced when we courageously let go of our familiar ways and precious things to benefit others, so they too can have a hope! This Easter we are again reminded of the living God who raised Christ from death to life. With Easter faith, we also become reminders of living hope for the world.
Christ is risen, risen for hope, a living hope for a new life!
Rev. Myung Hwa Park, Moderator