Easter is approaching with its themes of bunnies, holidays and religious services. But it also about heroism. This theme was prompted by recently viewing a movie that documented the sinking of The Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand, in1985 and the ensuing death of its photographic protestor crew member, Fernando Pereira. The crew of the Rainbow Warrior were protesting against the French nuclear tests in the Pacific. Explosives planted by French undercover operatives destroyed the ship.
The Warrior’s protestors didn’t expect to die but were cognisant of the dangers in confronting super powers. However, it seems they were prepared to risk their lives and comfort for the greater good; in this case, the end of Pacific nuclear testing. They were heroes.
Throughout history, people have died for the sake of others. Whether noble, or misguided, these are history’s heroes. They are ordinary people who give all to save lives, bring about change and create what they believe in. They live around us; fighting fires, rescuing people, saving lives, caring for disabled family members. Author James Runcie’s character, Sibella Leber in “The Perils of the Night” reflects, “You only know what you really believe in when the hour comes and you have to stand up for it.” Sometimes, as an ordinary hero like Pereira, you have to die for it.
At Easter, Christians around the world will celebrate the heroism of Jesus who died for the most important cause of all; namely humanity’s reconciliation with God. We pause on Good Friday to reflect on his death on that 1st century Roman cross. His painful death as the ultimate sacrifice for our sake. This is the bitter irony that this good person should stand in our place and make amends for our failure.
But as history attests the bleakness of Friday was transformed on Easter Sunday. The pain and distress was changed into certainty and hope when 3 days later Jesus rose from the dead.
It is so easy in the midst of the Easter holidays to miss the significance of Jesus resurrection. Here is the statement of God’s purpose that individuals would experience the fullness of life through accepting the gift of transformative power accomplished through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The Easter story prefigures with every other story of courage and self-sacrifice. It opens the opportunity for each of us to experience God’s embrace of acceptance and confidence for the future. Easter gives hope that disaster can be turned into triumph, injustice will be overturned and evil will be defeated.
Rev Keith Jobberns
National Ministries Director
Australian Baptist Ministries