Each year as Easter approaches I find myself reflecting on the journey Jesus took in his final days, as he wrestled with what it was that God was calling him to do. Even his closest friends were pulling him this way and that, trying as hard as they might to deflect him from the path that was unfolding, which as we know, led to his eventual sham trial, condemnation and crucifixion. It was not the way it was supposed to be.
I reflect on the words of Scripture that framed the world in which Jesus lived, which defined his ministry, perhaps no more so than in Isaiah, where it says: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here I am; send me!’” (Isaiah 6: 8) – words familiar to many of us in the hymn refrain: “Here I am Lord; is it I Lord? I have heard you calling in the night; I will go Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.”
I have often been asked what is at the core of the Easter message. My reply has always been the same – “love”. It finds no better expression than in the Gospel of John: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you”. (John 15: 12-14)
We are all called to love others as much as we might care for ourselves. If we are able to do this we can gain but a glimpse of what it was that enabled the followers of Jesus to see the light of God’s presence in all that he said and did.
At various points in my life journey, I thought I knew all that there was to know, or at least sufficient for me to survive in my structured world. Just when I thought my understanding complete, I have been brought back to earth with a thud, realising my “certainty” was no certainty at all.
It can be quite unnerving when our perception, awareness or relationships suddenly alter, but that change is in the nature of life itself. I call them “God moments”, when I recognise and accept that there are some things I will never know or fully understand, when only faith will suffice.
As I have journeyed in ministry over these past 30 years, that trust in mystery to be revealed has outgrown my need for certainty. My trust has been in one beyond all others, whom I know as Jesus. In every situation in life, I have been sustained.
I cannot claim the knowledge of an astronaut, or the skill of a surgeon, or the eloquence of an orator, but what I do know is the presence of God in my life, simply as light and love, as revealed by his son Jesus.
I know the words from the First Letter of John to be true: “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light an in him there is no darkness at all”. (I John 1: 5)
This is the heart of the message of Easter – perfect and undying love that could not be killed on a cross; nor could it be entombed. Rather, that light; that love; has risen from a horrible death and now gives life to all.
Yes, God has transformed the darkest of moments into the greatest act of love the world has ever known. This I truly believe.
It is time now for us to arise, shine and give voice to the glory of the Lord risen within each one of us.
Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!
A blessed Easter to you all.
Reverend Nalin Perera | Collage Chaplain
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