Easter Sunday is a day celebrated by all Christians. Jesus is risen from the dead. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16) Jesus lives! He is not dead! He has conquered death.
For Christians, life on earth is the first phase of a journey. The greater part of life is to be lived with God, with Jesus Christ in eternity. We prepare ourselves in this world for a future of love and eternal joy and peace with Jesus where pain and suffering will be no more, “Where every tear will be wiped away.” (Rev 21:4) A state where we shall experience real love and real joy!
In an imperfect world, a Christian always lives with hope because Christ has conquered death and all the evil it brings. The evil that happens to us in this world – which seems to conquer us with death - is never going to have the final word. We are but in a journey to eternity. This, in a nutshell, is the message of Easter.
But, what can the celebration of Easter contribute to our lives in this world?
There are a lot of contemporary issues to discuss and resolve. Many of us might ask: what has happened to our world?
After a brief online research, according to professor Goldstein of International Relations.com, there are currently “10 wars and 5 serious armed conflicts”1 around the world. Another site called warsintheworld.com stated that there are currently a “total of 67 countries involved in wars in 5 continents fighting 696 militias-guerrillas and separatists groups.”2
Due to all these wars happening concurrently, millions of people are being displaced from their village and country of origin. The crisis is deeply felt and experienced in Europe that the dream of a united Europe without borders may remain a dream for a while.
A report prepared for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in December 2015 mentioned: “In 2014, more than 200,000 refugees and migrants fled for safety across the Mediterranean Sea. Crammed into overcrowded, unsafe boats, thousands drowned, prompting Pope Francis to warn that the sea was becoming a mass graveyard. The early months of 2015 saw no respite. In April alone, more than 1,300 people drowned.”3
In Syria alone, according to the World Vision’s website article on 22 March 2016, the country is facing a great crisis with “13.5 million people within Syria needing humanitarian assistance, 4.6 million Syrians are now refugees and 6.6 million are displaced within Syria, half are children. Children affected by the Syrian conflict are at risk of becoming ill, malnourished, abused, or exploited. Millions have been forced to quit school. Most Syrian refugees remain in the Middle East, in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt; about 10 percent of the refugees have fled to Europe.”4 Recent news we watched on television included attacks on the heart of the European continent and one against women and children playing in a park in Pakistan on Easter day.
Aside from these, there are also other issues facing the world: abuse of children, euthanasia, hedonism and the rise of atheism, to name a few. So, with all these, does Easter still have meaning in our world today? For Christians who believe in the power of prayer and the power of good over evil, the short answer is, yes.
The world needs people of goodwill, Christians and non Christians, to engage each other, show that they care and hope for a life of peace. Jesus came to share eternal life with us and to bring us peace.
What am I to do now?
This is where Easter comes in.
God has loved us first. In Jesus Christ, God has won victory over death and evil. For us to participate in the victory of Christ, we are invited to give love back to God by loving all those God loves - accepting all people of all backgrounds, sharing all good and beautiful blessings of the earth and of our lives with them.
This does not require anything extraordinary from me. I do not need to be a hero. In my own little way, I can reach out to people, or even to just one person, and show that person that I care, that I love, that I hope. In my own way I can allow the goodness of God to have the last word over anything that might bring evil or death.
Then, Easter will really be meaningful.
1 Source: http://www.internationalrelations.com/wars-in-progress/
2 Source: http://www.warsintheworld.com/?page=static1258254223
3 Source: http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home/opendocPDFViewer.html?docid=56bb369c9&query=how%20many%20wars%20are%20being%20fought%20today
4 Source: https://www.worldvision.org/wv/news/Syria-war-refugee-crisis-FAQ