Bleak Holidays this Easter…
As we watch our worlds being torn apart and are not at all sure of how the new normal will look, there is a very deep sense of communal and personal anxiety. A health crisis leaving significant sections of our community at great risk of premature death has now morphed into an unimaginable economic crisis unparalleled in our recent history. We are finding ourselves asking a set of questions about work and food and shelter that we thought belonged in an era long past.
We are returning to the bedrock question of a way through the darkness of a desperate situation. Perhaps more than in previous Easter seasons that this generation has experienced, the simple yet profound narrative of the death and resurrection of Jesus speaks poignantly and profoundly to a troubled nation.
“Darkness came over the whole land” is the summary of the Gospel writers as the death of Jesus was imminent. (Mark 15:33-34) The betrayal, abuse and mockery had reached its climax. Where was the hoped-for bright future for his followers, who like us today, stared into a cataclysmic abyss?
So much promise had come to a sudden halt. The sound of hammer on nails of the crucifixion ritual rang out the end of the life of Jesus. His cry of ‘My God my God why have you forsaken me’, could well be the cry of us all captured by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But this is not the end, we have not been forsaken. God the Father had not deserted Jesus or us. The sure hope of the resurrection of Jesus stands as the eternally guaranteed promise that the darkness will come to an end. Death with all it’s anguish and pain will not triumph. The Easter story is the message of hope. Ned Trickett, Australia’s first world champion discovered the journey from despair to hope. You can see his account here.
The apostle Paul understood the power of the resurrection of Jesus as he wrote to the believers in Rome, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-9)
This is the sure hope of the love and presence of God that is on offer to us again this Easter.
Rev Keith Jobberns
National Ministries Director
Australian Baptist Ministries