On behalf of Council for World Mission I greet you and wish you a holy and peace-filled Easter.
As the Christian community around the world celebrate this Easter season, we cannot help but observe the cries and groaning of the world, where natural catastrophes and social calamities breed pain into lives, many of which are needlessly lost; and increases anxieties and much uncertainty for the future of those that survive. The on-going conflicts in Syria, South Sudan, and Isis in Iraq; the earthquake in Taiwan; the cyclone in Fiji; and indeed the “explosions (that) rock Brussels” have claimed lives, dislocated families and jeopardized livelihoods on the eve of Easter. All these and so much more remind us of the savagery of the first ‘Good Friday’, when Jesus was crucified and the pain and dislocation experienced by his followers who witnessed such cruelty in their helpless state.
Easter, for the believers, however, is a resounding statement of defiance against the odds and a story of deliverance from the life-denying forces that attempt to frustrate the will and sabotage progress. The act of God that raised Jesus from the dead is the very reason we celebrate Easter because God’s action, past and present, signals God’s capacity to meet us at the point of our need; and to move us beyond the challenges of the present to places of victory and triumph. Easter, therefore, is not just a memorial of the resurrection of Jesus, according to Christian belief, but it is also a reminder and a regurgitation of the Christian message that in God’s design there is a future.
God’s future is marked by hope for healing and restoration, peace and reconciliation and freedom from futility of purpose and action. In celebrating Easter, the Christian community make bold to declare that the world will not end in anarchy; that evil will not triumph over good; that greed will not consume life; and that “a bright new world” is about to “break upon the shore”. Even now, if we look beyond the pain, there are many hopeful signs, both great and small, about us of God’s unending mercy and God’s healing power that give us hope.
Council for World Mission has chosen as the theme for its coming Assembly, “Healing: Hope in Action”. The theme carries the audacious expectation that the alienation of peoples, the choking environment and the death-dealing forces of the present age will lose their power over life as God breaks in on the bleak horizons to “make all things new”.
It is in this spirit that I salute you at this Eastertide and wish for you and your loved ones healing blessings and the will to engage in hopeful actions.
Rev Dr Collin I. Cowan