The following is an Easter message from Bishop of Bridgetown The Reverend Dr Charles Jason Gordon
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Easter is about Hope! Death that gives way to life! Despair that gives way to new Joy!
This is not always recognized, as the two men on the way to Emmaus realized (Lk 24:13-35). “Their eyes were opened in the breaking of the bread.” They were still in despair, recounting all the terrible things that happened, although there was reason for great hope. Hope had visited them yet they could not see. Their eyes and their hearts were closed.
Is it possible that we, like the two men on the journey to Emmaus, walk in despair because our eyes and hearts are closed to who is with us? It is an interesting thing, Jesus accompanied them for a long distance and they still could not recognize him.
Recognizing that Jesus is with us is the difference between despair and hope. Hope is being confident that God will never abandon us. Hope is at the heart of our faith. Easter provides the greatest hope for us. We are Easter people – people of hope. This Easter I pray that through His Grace our eyes will be opened. I pray that we will be able to recognize Him in the breaking of the bread; that we will recognize that He is with us for every step of our journey.
What is the challenge that has brought you to despair this Lent? The Risen Christ is here with you in that challenge. How do we recognize Him? Think back on the journey and see all the positives that happened and all the blessings that the challenge brought, and then you will recognize that it is Christ our Lord who is risen and with you!
Where is your challenge? Is it in your family? Is it in your country or workplace?
This Easter I invite you to see your family, or country or workplace through the eyes of the Risen Christ – through the eyes of hope and love. Stop looking at what is wrong and begin to contemplate what is right, what is true and what is noble. Pray to Christ who is risen and ask Him to open your eyes so that you could see Him present even in the messiness of your life. Present in the breaking of the bread – The Eucharist.
Faith is belief in the person; that Jesus is Son of God, risen from the dead, the great I Am. Hope is belief that Jesus can and will do what He promises; that we can hold on to His promises and know that we are secure. In a recent challenge I heard the Lord say: “Put your hand in mine and do not let go”. That is what I have done; that is the source of my hope! This is where my joy springs from.
Hope is different from optimism. The latter suggests that things will get better. Hope suggests that even if things get worse, from our perspective, God is still in charge and working through this situation for his Glory to be seen. The events of that first Holy Week went from bad to worse and then some. But Jesus’ complete unfailing trust in His Abba, turned the worst human experience ever, into a very bright light of hope. Hope requires trust and surrender to God.
No matter what the challenge you face, never give way to discouragement. The risen Christ is with you on your journey. My best advice to you is “Put your hand in his and do not let go”. Christ is risen. Alleluia!
A BLESSED AND PEACEFUL EASTER TO YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES.
The Most Reverend Dr Charles Jason Gordon
Bishop of Bridgetown