Easter messages

Father Leonard Danvers
St. Peter’s Parish Cambridge

In New Zealand we are fortunate in having ‘public holidays’ that allow us time to celebrate and reflect on important events and take a break from normal routines.

For Christians, Easter recalls and celebrates the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. A time to reflect on the love of God in action in our world.

Someone wrote a poem about looking for “Easter Evidence”, and suggested the whole world was looking for some sure evidence that Christ was really alive. I don’t think Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies, hot cross buns or any of the other commercial ventures of our time do anything to convince us that he is alive in our midst.

The writer of the poem declared that all he ever saw was people, other people like himself. Yet, every once in a while, he came upon someone whose very life was a type of resurrection experience. That’s really all the evidence we have. People who are alive with a kind of radiance, enthusiasm, and a zest for living that is in stark contrast to the jaded attitude that is seen in the lives of many.

To have the Easter risen Christ alive in one’s life is an experience that those who find it cannot deny or forget, for it changes and transforms the whole of one’s life and points us to something greater- namely Jesus. In the end that’s all the evidence our world needs, and we who call ourselves Christians, need to be that evidence.

St. Ignatius urged his followers to find God in everything. May we renew our commitment to be his witnesses in the world today and stand closer together in his circle of love, so that we can know again the joy of living his life and sharing his love. Happy Easter.

Dave Firth
Pastor, Kaipaki Church

The Passover festival was a celebration of God’s faithfulness in protecting the Israelite people and ultimately bringing them out of slavery and into freedom. For over 1400 years the Jewish people faithfully celebrated this event and its significance in protecting them from death. These days we celebrate ‘Easter’ but we’re really remembering the Passover during which Jesus went to the cross and paid the debt for our sin.

These last couple of years have been strange. Lockdowns and restrictions have taken their toll on us, but we’ve realised we crave two things; safety and freedom.

It’s interesting that all those years ago those two same things were what God’s people were craving. They didn’t put their hope or trust in a government or in any person. They trusted in the Lord – the God of Israel. Incidentally ‘Israel’ means a people that wrestle with God. If that’s you, can I encourage you to stop wrestling. Trust Him and His promise to protect you and lead you to safety and freedom.

Joshua 1:5b ‘As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.’

Jeff Parker
Pastor, Elim Church Centre

In a world that seems more crazy than ever and where the truth seems hard to find, some would ask… Is there any real hope for the future? Is there really any hope that things could get better? Is it worth the effort to try to effect change?

In the midst of it all Easter comes in a timely fashion to remind us of where genuine hope comes from. Where is God when things are tough? He steps right into the middle of it and meets us where we are.

That’s what He did when on that first Easter weekend, instead of pouring out judgement on us for our wrongs, He took it upon Himself on a Roman cross. He died. All seemed lost. But on Sunday He rose to life and now offers life, real life, and eternal hope to all who would put their trust in Him. So yes, there is hope. It is realised fully when we fully trust the One who gives genuine hope.

Jeremy and Kath Lind
Raleigh St Christian Centre

On behalf of Raleigh St Christian Centre, we would like to wish everyone a blessed Easter. Martin Luther King Jr, the great civil rights activist, was a committed Jesus follower. He once said that ‘Jesus knew that the old eye-for-eye philosophy would leave everyone blind. Jesus did not seek to overcome evil with evil. He overcame evil with good. Although crucified by hate, Jesus responded with aggressive love.’

Jesus Christ is the most influential figure in the history of the world. Yet, He never left his region of the world, never held a position of power, or wrote a book. However, Jesus has the largest and most culturally diverse group of followers found in every part of the globe, and Jesus is still the most written about individual. While his whole life is important, it’s his death and subsequent resurrection that began the revolution.

His followers subsequently realised he was God himself in human flesh sent to rescue the world. His followers haven’t always fulfilled his mandate, but the hope found in the message of Jesus is still real and relevant. If you have never explored the message of Jesus, then we would encourage you to check a church out this Easter.

Aimee and Scott Noakes
Corps Officers, Cambridge Salvation Army

It’s a strange thing that we commemorate the death of a man who lived and died in relative obscurity. Roman historians wrote no saga, their Emperors paid no heed to the life of this desert wandering, trouble raising, social rule breaking pariah. His own community elites denounced the man who came from a good for nothing province in a good for nothing area on the far side of a cold and unforgiving empire. Jesus himself ventured on foot no further than we today could drive in a few hours.

Yet here we are, on the eve of Easter week turning our attention to this obscure man, who died and rose again. Not for his own benefit but for his love for us. Jesus teaches us that foremost we are to love God, after that we are to love others as we love ourselves, just as he exampled. Whether you (as I) believe in this Jesus as the Son of God, or maybe just as a good man that imparted some decently ethical lessons onto his followers, the lesson remains somewhat unchanged.

Love your neighbour as yourself. This Easter may you feel such love.

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