Resurrection hope

No more $Zimbillions

Pastoral letter from Bishop Bakare

Easter 2009

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered they could not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!

Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee: The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”

Then they remembered his words. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.

But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.

Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.” (Luke 24:1-12)

The resurrection of Christ- a fairy tale, bluff or reality!

The breaking of the news of the resurrection of Christ sounded like a fairy tale especially from the lips of the women (who according to the Jewish tradition were not considered credible). For Peter the story was a bluff, absolutely incredible. He ran to the tomb disbelieving, going away from the tomb wondering what had happened. Peter and his brothers were confused and mesmerised about the resurrection of Christ. It was something they did not expect, although Jesus had on several occasions talked about it. (Mark 14:57-58) In the midst of this confusion the resurrection of Jesus had opened a new chapter in their life and in the life of the entire humanity. His resurrection was a hope-filled event.

Since November, when we were denied access to our Cathedral followed by a massive action by ZRP refusing us entry into our church buildings, we felt,
“…hard pressed on every side but not crushed;
Perplexed, but not abandoned;

Struck down but not destroyed; we always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). He is risen indeed Halleluiah!

Persecutions of the CPCA continue but the faithful remain resolute and committed to their conviction. Those who do not have the courage have gone into a spiritual diaspora. We do not know whether they will come back and leave their newly founded homes in the diaspora.

The events of the week before Palm Sunday with tear gas and live bullets was for us a taste of what Jesus went through during his entire ministry ending with his crucifixion. Arrest of innocent Clergy and lay persons from their church service and using live bullets was an experience one does not want to go through again. On this 5th Sunday of Lent, our CPCA’s world was crushed, leaving us with very little hope to regain our right to worship in freedom but all we knew was that God was being persecuted and tear-gassed with us. When the word went around in the Diocese and in the community, everything inside us was gone. We were left empty like the tomb of Jesus on Easter Morning. Empty as we might have felt, it was God’s plan for us to go through this experience. If God did not spare his Son from torture who are we to question and doubt His plan?

On the 5th Sunday of Lent, we thought that our congregations were going to dwindle but instead, even those who had been shying away from our church services, turned up in their numbers to everyone’s surprise. Inside us we knew that somehow things were going to be alright. Suffering? Yes. We know about it but we do not have to despair, my dear brothers and sisters. Those who take the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a bluff, distance themselves from their commitment in the living God when faced with challenges; those who believe in the resurrection are always ready to stand up for what they believe is the ultimate end. The resurrection of Christ is an inspiration and a source of hope to those called to true discipleship.

The message from the women: “…Christ is risen…” is not a fairy tale and is not a myth but a reality even to us today in our situation and context. It is a reality that creates in us a deep source of God’s plan that leads us to a profound faith in Him as one who is in control of His creation. The emptiness of our life is filled with hope about who God the Almighty is. As we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, we would like to recommend that you all pray for the Elective Assembly, that God may send us a faithful shepherd to take care of his flock.

My wife and I wish you a blessed and joyous Easter.

Your Bishop

+ Sebastian Harare

Almighty God, on this day of the resurrection of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, we thank you that you are always with us,
in bad times as well as the good times, the sad as well as the joyous occasions.
We thank you that you have kept our hope alive
even when we were uncertain
and in despair you have given us guidance at a time we felt so discouraged.
The resurrection of your Son has given us fresh hope.
We thank you for this Great Day which brings to us your steadfast love that is always there.
Give us confidence in the days ahead of us,
so that whatever difficulties we may face,
whatever disappointments we may experience,
whatever sorrows may come to us,
help us always to look to the future in the hope created for us
by the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

From Avondate Parish

No comments:

Post a Comment