Here is the Moderator’s Easter Message for 2022.
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God bless you and your loved ones this Easter Season.
MODERATOR’S EASTER MESSAGE APRIL 2022 “RESILIENCE”
How are you? Are you well ?
Nhamirri nhe? Nhamirri nhuma? Nyuntu Palya? Apa kabar? Ngudda kamak?
Whatever language you speak, I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus, the Christ.
I greet you with the language of love – as your brother and all of us members of the one family.
‘How are you?’ is not just a greeting, but it is a real question about your well-being.
Are you well? Is it well with your soul?
It has been a difficult couple of years for most people. How has it been for you? Have you been knocked around by the Pandemic? Travel restrictions, isolation, lock-ins, lock-outs. Some people have been sick and had to go to hospital. Maybe you know some people who have died. And this is on top of all the normal difficulties of life, including illness, money problems and trouble with relationships. Sometimes life can be hard. True? Yeah, that’s true.
In my message to you for Easter I want to think a little bit about resilience. Resilience is a fancy word which means ‘getting over things’. It means that when we get knocked down, we get up again. It means that when something bad happens, even if we feel really sad or get badly hurt, we can deal with it and then get on with our lives. 25 years a go a band called Chumbawamba had a song called, ‘I Get Knocked Down’. You might remember that Tina Turner sang that song for a Rugby promotion, “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You aint never gonna keep me down.” That’s what reslilience is. You get knocked down. But you get up again.
This message is for everyone. And if you have been knocked down in the last couple of years, this message is especially for you. When you are smashed by life and you feel bruised and weak; when you are hurting and you are broken in your body or broken on the inside in your mind, your feelings or in your spirit, when you get knocked down; you don’t have to stay down, you can get up again, you can be resilient.
I say this, because I see resilience in the world; I say it, because I have experienced it; and I say it, because I see it in Jesus.
Easter is a good time to think about resilience. Not even death could keep Jesus down. How’s that for resilience, aye?
In the life and teachings of Jesus, we see again and again the capacity for resilience. People whose lives are broken, who are oppressed, who are diseased or disconnected or dysfunctional are then restored (they are healed) when they meet Jesus. Jesus reminds us that life is good; that God is good and he offers us a new start.
When I was a boy I looked forward to Easter. I looked forward to the easter eggs, YES. . . , but I also looked forward to the celebration. My mother always wrote a little card for each of her children and reminded us about God’s love and Jesus’ Resurrection. On Easter morning she would say to me, “Christ is risen.” and I would answer, “He is risen indeed.” I remember her beautiful smile when she said that to me. It was always a very special moment. When I was a bit older, sometimes I would be the first one to say, “Christ is risen.” and my mother would smile and say, “He is risen indeed.”
I think that resilience is at the heart of the Easter message. The message is not just about one day a long time ago. It is a message for each one of us, for all of us, for every day of our lives. You might get knocked down, but by the Grace of God, you can get up again.
I’m going to suggest three things that are important if you want to be resilient. You might agree or disagree with me. That’s okay. I just offer these words for you to think about. You’ll make up your own mind.
The three things for resilience in your life are: Acceptance; Forgiveness; and Hope
When something goes wrong, when something bad happens, the first thing is to accept that it has happened. We can say, “Yes, I fell down and broke my leg.” or “Yes, I got too angry and made some trouble for those other people.” or “Yes, my loved family member has died.” First accept it. This might take a bit of time as we grieve and deal with the loss. We can only move on in life once we accept it.
The second thing is forgiveness. If someone knocked you down, you need to forgive them. Maybe it was an accident? Or maybe they meant to knock you down. Either way, if you hold onto your anger and keep blaming them it will hurt you even more. Maybe you need to forgive someone else; and maybe you need to forgive yourself. Maybe you need to forgive God. Forgiveness means we give it all to God in prayer. It means we let go of the bad feelings and we trust God to lead us towards healing in our lives. Forgiveness is the way of Jesus. It is an essential part of true resilience and healing.
The third thing is to live with hope. We hope that things will get better. Our hope as followers of Jesus is based on Jesus. In him we see the grace of God. We see that God is good, that life is good, that God loves us and that God always offers us a new beginning, a new chance, a new start.
At Easter time I think of Jesus going to the cross. It’s a story that makes me feel sad. Jesus could have run away and hidden, but he didn’t. He was so committed to telling the people around him about God’s love and about the way of forgiveness that he knew he had to keep telling people, no matter what. So he kept telling people about God’s love and grace. He accepted that calling on his life and he accepted that it would lead him into trouble with the leaders. He accepted the pathway that God called him to.
When Jesus was on the cross, do you remember the words he spoke? He forgave the people who were killing him. He forgave them! Imagine if he had screamed and cursed them. That wouldn’t be much of a story, would it? But he didn’t scream and curse them. He said, “Father forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” This changed the world
Jesus died with hope. He commended his spirit to God as he hung there and he told the man beside him that they would be in paradise together. His hope was based in the eternal grace of God even in his pain and dying. He also hoped that his followers would look after each other and would share his message of love and forgiveness with the world.
In the stories of Jesus’ resurrection and after his resurrection we see more evidence of acceptance, forgiveness and hope.
Resurrection, the ultimate resilience. Love even overcomes death.
Whatever struggles you are going through, may you find resilience through Jesus, the Christ. May you find your way through to healing and good living again. Resurrection life is not just a story about 2000 years ago. It is a story for you and me, for today, for us to live our lives with resilience. And for us to share that way of living with other people too.
Acceptance, forgiveness and hope.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
This is the Good news.
Manymak Dhawu! Kamak Yiwarrudj! Tjukurpa Palya! Baik Cerita!
Ma Yow yow. Aralba (I have spoken from my heart) Uwa Palya Baik Baik sadja
Grace and Peace. The best is yet to come,
Rev Tony Goodluck
Moderator Northern Synod, Uniting Church in Australia
Mob: 0498 680 215 Email: email@example.com
Living on Larrakia land. Born on Jaitmatang land.
Raised on Jaitmatang, Woiworunn, Maarku and Larrakia land