Why do Christians make such a big thing about Easter, an event that took place about 2,000 years ago? What does it have to do with today’s world?
Let me put it this way: Easter to Christians is as life-changing and world-shaping an event as the original cosmic ‘big bang’. Let me clarify one essential thing. You cannot understand Good Friday without factoring in Easter Day, and vice-versa. The two go together, and as such, they released a power unlike any other throughout the world. So much so, that it is described as unleashing a whole new creation.
The biggest drama of all, given expression in the biblical narrative, is that of light overwhelming darkness, of order, safety and flourishing emerging out of chaos, disorder and aridness. That describes the story of the Bible from beginning to end.
Right at the heart of that narrative, the key turning point, and the defining moment in history, is the entry of God himself into this world, in truly human form. Jesus was (and is) God taking a physical, flesh and blood body. And Jesus had a mission. The life, teaching, actions and example of Jesus opens windows into how the world is created to be—and to become. It’s an ongoing project.
Easter, through both the unparalleled power of ultimate self-sacrifice, overwhelmed the darkness of terrorism, corruption and betrayal. The horror of Good Friday became the catalyst for Easter Day. Life prevails over death, righteousness defeated powers of evil, and as the bible puts it, in the resurrection the first fruits of a new creation harvest emerged.
God’s actions in and through the cross, and no less the resurrection of Christ, continue to transform and re-create the world today. This is the source of our hope. In a world where we are all too familiar with grief, with evil, and calculated actions of terror and fear, we may be confident that the righteousness and peace of God will prevail.
In a world of division, shaming and abuse, the way of the peacemaker shines out. Dare we believe such a hope? Are we not exercising little more than wishful thinking? Can we trust the promises of life that is truly full and flourishing? The answer is found in the testimony of over 550 people, on at least a dozen different occasions, who affirmed that they had seen, touched and even eaten with the risen Jesus.
Sceptics have investigated, and frequently end up as believers. At Easter, we celebrate the transforming, dynamic power that was released through the resurrection of Jesus, a power which continues to deeply impact our world today.
Bishop Tim Harris
Administrator (Sede Vacante)