Dear friends and church leaders,
Each year as we come to the 2020 Easter season, there are many aspects worthy of comment. This year, due to the unprecedented global disruption and dislocation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, I am reminded of our ‘identity’. The one thing this current season is doing, is stripping away anything that was normal; that which subtly allows us to tie our identity to something else. You and I are more than our ‘roles’ in life. We are immensely important to God and to others.
Irish philosopher, theologian and poet, John O’Donohue wrote:
‘One of the greatest sins is the unlived life, not to allow yourself to become chief executive of the project you call your life, to have a reverence always for the immensity of that is inside of you.’
Easter is about the identity of Jesus. He was first to proclaim – there is no greater love than to give your life to another. He not only taught this – but was willing to walk this journey.
The late Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote from prison: ‘There is hardly anything that can make you happier than to feel that you count for something with other people. What matters here is not numbers, but intensity. In the long run, human relationships are the most important thing in life. God uses us in his dealings with others. Everything else is very close to hubris.’
These two perspectives help us reorientate what’s most important; namely loving God and loving others.
In a real way our identity is tied to the love of God. We are the beloved! From this place we are best able to love others.
While Easter is a profound story of suffering and hope, it is also a story of identity. Jesus as both Son of God and God the Son identifies with our plight in life. He offers His life so that we might discover true living. It is a time of reflection and sorrow but also a time to assess how we are truly travelling.
I found this prayer to be helpful during this season:
So we pray and we remember that:
Yes there is fear. But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation. But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying. But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness. But there does not have to be disease of the soul.
Yes there is even death. But there can always be a rebirth of love. (Brother Richard Hendrick)
This Easter, may you know God’s love and care.
God is for you. Our prayers are with you.
Dr. Andrew Ball,
Executive Ministry Director, Fresh Hope NSW/ACT