Easter Message 2019
Posted on the 20th Apr 2019 in the category Announcements
When, in 1 Corinthians 15, St Paul describes his calling to be a witness of the resurrection, he insists that he deserves to be known as ‘the least of all the apostles’, since he once persecuted the Church. This is a powerful reminder that the Good News of Christ’s resurrection is, among many other things, the proclamation of the possibility both of repentance and of change. Christ raised from the dead is free to come to his enemy, to sinners wherever they are, and show himself, inviting them to sorrow and to faith.
Or to re-phrase the refrain of the famous Easter carol:
Since Christ, who once was slain,
has burst his three-day prison,
our faith is not in vain –
for now we are forgiven,
for now we are forgiven!
But Paul’s case tells us there is more. Saul the persecutor, seeing the glorified Christ on the Damascus road, in that same moment also sees his own victims in a new way: as those in whom Christ is present and suffering. So his turning to Christ is also a turning in love towards those he caused to suffer. At first blinded by this revelation, which convicts him of his spiritual blindness, his sight is restored in baptism.
The world—ourselves included—so very urgently needs to hear the Good News that repentance and change are possible. All around us we see human aggressions and conflicts, in which people are imprisoned by their past resentments and their future fears. They turn to division and violence in order to settle scores, or to make others afraid, or to secure themselves against future threats, repeating the enslaving patterns of the past and guaranteeing more violence in the future. They cease to be able to see the wounded and dying Christ in those whom they themselves have made to suffer, whether among their enemies, or simply those who are increasingly caught up the margins of war and terror, perhaps especially the innocent and children.
St Paul says elsewhere (Gal 5.1) that we who believe in the Lord’s Resurrection must be aware of falling back into this imprisonment and slavery, when in truth Christ by his cross and resurrection has set the world free. And we can show to the world the power of that truth when we become ministers of reconciliation (2Cor 5.18-20): first, when we proclaim that God forgives and desires to be reconciled with us, and then when we forgive and seek to be reconciled with each other.
May God save us from our failure to believe that the Risen Christ has power to change us and every person; and may he give us the assurance of the forgiveness of our sins and the true freedom of the Risen Life, so that, we may proclaim the Good News with joy.