People of the Resurrection
At Easter season, we dramatise the story of the last week of Jesus’s life on earth with the disciples. We visit the moving adaptation of the last supper, Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Resurrection Sunday. One needs no reminder of how significant the climax of Easter Sunday is, when Jesus rose from the tomb after defeating death. Jesus on the cross is not the complete story or the end of life.
The completion of the journey of life takes place on Easter Sunday morning when we say, “Jesus is risen and he is risen indeed.”
During my last placement at Belmont Uniting Church, I always enjoyed our Ecumenical Easter sunrise service at Redhead beach. We welcomed the new dawn of the Easter sun ray’s reflection on the smooth blue ocean ripples while singing “alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord…”
I celebrate life and I am grateful for living such a content and peaceful life in Australia, but I often wonder about the lives of people who are sharing the Pacific Ocean with us. I may not see them, I may not hear them, but I can certainly feel the heartbeats of their joy and pain just like the roaring sound of the waves. We share the same wants and basic needs as God-created beings.
Every time I sing the hymn from Together in Song (146 by Josiah Booth) “God who made the earth, the air, the sky the sea, who gave the light its birth, God cares for me.” It reminds me of my primary responsibility to care for God’s creation.
What does it mean when we talk about preserving life on the planet? What does it mean when we hear preachers talking about “life in Christ”, “we have been resurrected”, and “we are people of resurrection”? What kind of life we are talking about? When we say in unison “God is good all the time,” then “All the time God is good”, what does it really mean to someone who is suffering from abuse and violence? So often we are told that is life, deal with it and move on, but is this the resurrected life we are called to uphold?
I read this story about a child returning home from school his backpack and lunch box dragging the ground.
His Mum demanded, “What are you doing here son, it is only lunch break. Did you finish early?”
“No, I’ve quit school” he replied.
His Mum said, “Quit school? Why have you quit school?”
He said, “It’s too long, it’s too hard, and it’s too boring.”
Then his mother said, “Great, you have just described life. Get back on the bus!”
Is this the meaning of life? Instead of just getting back on the bus, we need to ask questions: Who is driving the bus? Which direction? Is it the right bus? Are there seating arrangement rules in the bus? Who own the bus? And so on.
When we sing the hymn on Good Friday Together in Song (345 by Francis Westbrook), we cry out the words, “Were you there when they crucify my Lord.”
The third line of each stanza then says, “O sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, and tremble.” This is a reality check for a would-be follower of Christ.
We tremble indeed, just like mother Mary at the foot of the cross. We also tremble in the last stanza that says, “we were there when he rose from out the tomb.” And just like Mary we rush to tell others that “Jesus is risen!”
Our call as resurrection people is to bring life to others that are less fortunate than us. Past President Rev. Prof. Andrew Dutney reminds us that, “…the core business of the Christian movement has always been to share that the message of God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.” (See 2 Corinthians 5: 19).
In the Basis of Union it states that, “the Church’s call is to serve that end: to be the fellowship of reconciliation…” (para 3). The mission of God is reconciliation and renewal for creation.
Easter calls us out of the tombs of life and into the light of God’s love. The good news of Easter is that death no longer has a grip on us. Jesus is alive. We are people of the resurrection that find faith in the heart of Christ. That’s life.
Rev. Haloti Kailahi, Oatley Uniting Church.
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