A Message from the CWM General Secretary, Rev. Dr Collin Cowan – Easter 2015
The ferocity of flood rains, droughts, earthquakes, cyclones and Tsunamis have raked havoc on countries such as Malawi, Madagascar, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Our people have been dislocated; hundreds have died and the lives of far too many have been thrust into turmoil.
Several of CWM member churches are located in these disaster areas and this is a time of great sadness for them, requiring extraordinary resolve to rise, grasp the opportunities to care and be a presence of healing and hope in the midst of such calamities.
The Easter story is not without its Good Friday of pain, terror and brokenness; and as creation groans under the pressure of our irresponsible lifestyle, one wonders, could such disasters, as cyclones Chedza and Pam, be interpreted as creation’s Good Friday?
Appeals for solidarity and support have been heralded from many quarters of the world and the humanitarian response has been tremendous, in the wake of these natural catastrophes. It is in times like these that we come to know the true mettle of which we, as human beings, are made and the capacity for goodwill that reside within our hearts.
Of even greater noteworthiness is the spirit of resilience that comes from those immediately affected by these natural disasters, and their stubborn refusal to allow these momentary setbacks to define their future. The cumulative convergence of goodwill and gumption, coupled with the abundant supply of God’s grace is what it takes to face life’s chaos and to forge ahead with confidence.
The message of Easter is that God’s gift of life cannot be stolen, killed or destroyed by the forces of evil, the ferocity of natural disaster nor by the failure of human being to be guided by God’s call to compassion and caring considerations for God’s creation in our relationships and our transactions. Those of the Roman Empire and the religious community of that day thought that with the crucifixion they had sealed the fate of Jesus once and for all; and that they had conquered completely.
But according to Holy Scripture, “… God raised him from the dead” (Acts 10: 29-30), defying the reason of logic and declaring life forevermore. God reveals God’s self in various ways but for the Christian community, Easter is a time to speak life to and from all circumstances of lifelessness; and to present the God of resurrection as hope for the bruised and the broken.
Easter is God’s antidote against despondency and defeat, a declaration of freedom from fear and faith in God’s unfolding future. In saluting you this Eastertide, CWM joins in the appeal for support for those countries badly hit by natural disasters in recent times, even as we pledge our own corporate support.
We pray that everyone will find the hope and renewed strength to face the challenges of our time, confident that “We serve a risen Saviour” and that God’s unfaltering commitment to raise us up is our guarantee for a bright future.
As we celebrate this Eastertide I invite us all to join Russell Kelso Carter, 1886, in the hymn:
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.