MODERATOR’S EASTER MESSAGE 2023 ‘HOLD ON’
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Where do you go to refresh your soul? What do you do to get in touch with the deep parts of your inner being? Some of us like to walk; ’ find beautiful places in nature.
As I think about Easter this year I think about refreshment; I think about new beginnings; I think about restoration; I think about hope for the future and forgiveness and reconciliation of damaged or broken relationships. Easter is a story about particular, significant events that happened two thousand years ago, the culmination of the story of the life of Jesus of Nazareth on this earth. Easter is also, also about our own lives, our own hearts, here and now and the new beginning that is offered to each one of us day-by-day and moment-by-moment.
If things have been tough for you this year or over the past two or three years, and I know for most of us things have been very tough; if things have been tough for you, don’t give up hope, don’t despair. Trust in the goodness of God’s grace and the new possibilities that are offered to you day-by-day, for new beginning, for restoration, for refreshment. Since I’ve been walking here today, just these last few minutes, I’ve seen at least four different types of butterflies; I’ve seen three different types of dragonflies. It’s cool in here, much, much cooler than outside in the full sun. This is a place of refreshment and life. Sometimes those places we go to are physical places like this. Sometimes the places we go to are places in our heart, in our spirit, in our mind. Memories, friendships, places of connection with the eternal goodness and grace of God.
I remember when I was in my teen years, there was a movie called ‘The Posieden Adventure’. Some of you will remember that, about half a century ago. And in that movie a ship, a cruise ship gets hit by a tidal wave and is knocked and turns upside down; and many people on board are drowned. There’s a small group who won’t give up and they climb up through the ship’s structures towards the thinnest place of steel which is only an inch thick rather than two inches thick. They climb up through there, with this almost impossible hope that they could be rescued. It’s an extraordinary story; ’ was one of my favourites movies as a teenager, as I was grappling with a world full of horrors and struggles and conflict and wanting to live as a man of hope, hope for justice, as a man of kindness, as a man of faith. In that movie the theme song is “There’s Got To Be A Morning After’. There’s got to be a morning after, if you can hold on through the night, and so it goes on. There’s got to be a morning after, if you can hold on through the night.
Easter is about terrible events that happened to Jesus and all his followers. The darkness of night closed in on them. It looked like Jesus was gone. It looked like their movement was over. But they held on, they held on to the morning; to new sun; to new possibiliites. They didn’t know they were holding on. They were actually terrified. They ran and hid, didn’t they? We remember the story . . they ran and hid. But early on the morning of the first day of the week, the women went to the grave . . and it was empty. Chirst had risen! Friends this is a story of long long ago, but it is also the story of our lives. Hold on through the hard times. Trust in God. Trust in Jesus.
When Jesus was before Pilate he said to him, “I have come to testify to the truth.” and Pilate said, “What is truth?” He didn’t wait for the answer. Pilate said, ”What is truth?” and he walked out to talk to the crowd, saying, “I find nothing wrong with this man.” Perhaps if he had waited for Jesus’ answer to that question, ‘What is truth?’ Jesus would have been able to say to him as he said on other occasions, “I AM the truth.” I am the WAY and the TRUTH and the LIFE. Whoever comes to me and believes in me will have eternal life.”
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life”. It’s in relationship with Jeus that we find our way. It’s in relationship with Jesus that we discover the truth. Jesus invites us into relationship. And yes, I hear some of you say, “But how can I have a relationship with someone who died two thousand years ago?”
Well, friends, this is the Good News of God’s love in Jesus. Jesus is alive. Jesus lives. This is not just a statement of biological expression. It’s a story about Spirit and Life and Truth.
There was an old song going around sixty or seventy years ago
‘He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today.
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, he lives, salvation to impart.
You ask me how I know he lives. He lives within my heart.’
You ask me how I know he lives. He lives within my heart. This is the conviction of Christians. Over a billion people around the world will celebrate this conviction this week.
‘He lives within my heart’. Christ is risen friends. Hope for the future is real. Our legacy as Christians is to be agents for this hope; and to work for justice, forgiveness, reconciliation, peace and a better world for all.
Happy Easter friends. God bless you.
Rev Tony Goodluck (Nangarridj)
’ Like to listen to this message on Youtube? Click the link below . . . https://youtu.be/zuVQsM7I5IU
Moderator, Northern Synod, Uniting Church in Australia
Mob: 0498 680 215 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Living on Larrakia land; Born on Jaitmatang land; Raised on Jaitmatang, Woiworunn, Maarku and Larrakia