by The Rev’d Canon Noel A. Burke
On Easter Day, Christian voices around the word are raised with shouts of Alleluia, Christ is risen.
The celebration of Easter is one of the glorious mysteries of the Christian faith.
It was the power of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead that gave power and impetus to the 12 Apostles and their companions in the early church.
Having been thrown into grief by seeing their friend crucified three days prior, they now have the despair and agony removed as they see their risen Lord before them as they gather together.
Professor Kevin Irwin tells us that as Christians we do not simply celebrate biblical events; but rather the theological implications of those fabulous saving events in the sacred texts.
The early Christians would find such meaning in the resurrection of our Lord. They built upon its foundation while also incorporating the experience of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday and included the coming of the Holy Spirit.
For them all of these sacred and saving events were considered together as part of Jesus’ glorification.
For indeed crucifixion and resurrection were all part of the process of Jesus’ return to the Father. We can never separate these two mighty acts, one in which Jesus lays down his life for us and the other in which he takes it up again.
At the Easter weekend, according to Professor Patrick Regan in his book Advent to Pentecost, we observe one event, namely Jesus’ return to the Father. It is through the path and passage of death that our Lord brings us new and eternal life.
.Crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit referred to as the Paschal Mystery are for us the means whereby Christ makes it possible for us to enjoy new life in this world and the word to come.
As we celebrate the events surrounding our salvation we do so at a time when the world needs to hear this Good News of God’s saving actions.
We have almost become accustomed to bad news with the cyclic treadmill of information that is pushed at us on a 24-hour basis.
Human beings still have a long way to go in terms of the way in which we treat each other. We must all take responsibility for our words and actions knowing that violent action comes from evil thoughts and speech.
The Barbados Christian Council remains concerned about the level of violence in our society agreeing with the wide body of research that violence is a learnt behaviour.
Jesus transforms the violence of Good Friday with the peace and calm of Easter Day as he breathes on the disciples and says to them “Peace be with you”. (John 20:22)
At a time when young people are exposed to much violence and often respond in such like, we must commend Ayra Newton, the student of the Princess Margaret School, who is now an Ambassador for Peace.
The Christian Council similarly commends her parents, teachers and mentors and pray that she and all other young people will walk in the way of peace.
At this Eastertide we continue to lift our nation and all of those who are presenting themselves to the people of Barbados to be elected.
It is our hope that the self sacrificial service demonstrated by our Lord during his earthly life may be the example to those offering themselves to be ministers, servants and shepherds of the people of this nation
On this Easter Day and during the 50 days of Easter let us continue the spiritual discipline of Lent through, action and volunteering with the view that we must never allow good works to fall away as we look towards the coming of the Holy Spirit.
On behalf of the members of the Barbados Christian Council let me extend God’s richest blessing to all in our nation for a happy, peaceful and joyful Easter tide.
May the God of all hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:1)
(The Rev’d Canon Noel A. Burke is chairman of the Barbados Christian Council)