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An Easter message from the Archbishops

Holy week, 2008

An Easter message from the Archbishops

The accounts of the arrest, trial, torture, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus are – in terms of their length alone – the pivot points of each of the four gospels.

In the countless words that have been spoken and written about the life of Jesus in the last 2000 years, it’s this chain of events – from arrest through crucifixion to resurrection – which has been most been focussed on. It is the hinge, the turning point: the story that, above all others, has riveting power and exerts unending fascination.

Why? The heart-rending details of the final suffering of the Son of God reveal how deep God’s empathy is for the world, and how far divine love will go to redeem the pain and sin of the world.

Evil manifested in so many forms – political, religious, psychological, and spiritual – poured itself out completely in this event.

And the Easter miracle is this: these murderous forces exhausted themselves without finally exhausting the faith, hope, and love of God.

In a way, the forces of evil, as powerful as they are, were finally put in their place, exposed as ultimately unreal and finally overcome in resurrection. The resurrection is the place in human history where evil, injustice, and prejudice are transfigured into justice, goodness, and enlightenment.

So what we have then, in the stupendous drama that centres on Golgotha, is an event without comparison.

We grapple to understand developments in science by comparing them to something else, or with patterns that already exist.

But with the resurrection this is not possible: we have an utterly unique, mind-blowing, heart-changing, spirit-restoring mystery of God. The resurrection cannot finally be assessed by human method.

In the end, a belief in Easter is a Holy Spirit- inspired faith decision of the mind and the heart. It is a choice. You can believe the witnesses who say that a unique and remarkable liberation occurred that has gone on recreating the world ever since, by the triumph of life over death, of love over hate, of light over darkness.

Or you can believe that the witnesses were mistaken and that life and death, love and hate, light and darkness are evenly matched: there is no ultimate power for good that is stronger than the grave.

As Luke says in his Gospel, the only people to whom the Risen Christ appeared were people who loved him, witnesses that God had already chosen. The Resurrection, therefore, is made visible and possible for those who experience it because of the love that is in them – because God is love and because God loved the world so much that God gives Christ to people in a new and living way. With them, if you believe that the divine love is stronger than death, then you can believe in Easter.

Christ did not raise himself from the death-dealing hatred that killed him; God raised Christ by divine love, in and through the heart love of the disciples, so that the Spirit of God that raised Jesus from death, may be divine love alive in us.

This is the wellspring of a new creation, this is the fountainhead of righteousness and justice. May this ever living righteousness and justice flow through you this Easter, out into the world, and into the lives of those around you.

Alleluia, Christ is Risen, He is risen indeed!

#

Archbishop Brown Turei
Archbishop David Moxon
Archbishop Jabez Bryce


ENDS

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