Port Augusta Uniting Church celebrated 150 years of worship and witness in late March. Their anniversary celebrations, which included a Saturday night dinner and a Sunday morning service, drew a large and enthusiastic crowd.
Easter: new life, new season
By Rev Sue Ellis
Uniting Church SA Moderator
Posted in Faith
In the 2017 Moderator's Easter message, Rev Sue Ellis reflects on new life, new seasons and hope that is found at Easter. A video of the message is available online here and a transcript of the video is below. Sue will share a different Easter message, also themed on new life and new seasons, will be printed in the Good Friday edition of the Adelaide Advertiser.
May the blessing of the new life of the Easter season be with you at this very special time of the year. Easter for Christians means celebrating the new life that was given to Jesus by God when he was resurrected from the dead.
I guess there are lots of people in the world who are looking for new life today.
Here in Australia, we have been thinking of the people who have been devastated by Cyclone Debbie – people of Queensland and northern New South Wales whose homes and livelihoods have been flooded. They have a massive clean-up job ahead of them. They’re looking for a new season for their lives.
We think, too, of the people in Syria whose lives have been reduced to rubble by the bombings that are happening there. The place of war in the world seems to have victimised so many innocents. There are people streaming into refugee camps looking for new life and a new season for their life.
Then, of course, we in Australia continue to journey with the First Peoples in this land as we recognise the pain and the suffering that they have endured, and how they are looking for a journey of reconciliation, that we might be Australians together.
Pain and suffering, struggle, these are more like stories of Good Friday, aren’t they? But as the Easter people we know that Good Friday and the crucifixion of Jesus is not the end. He was raised to life on Easter Sunday. God gave him new life. And the promise of Jesus is that all who trust in him will have that new life. They can look forward to a new season. That the time of grief and loss, of sadness and suffering, will have an end. That there will be a new beginning; a new beginning that is promised to us.
When Jesus went to visit his good friends Mary and Martha, they were really despondent and sad. Their brother Lazarus had died. But when Jesus greeted them he said to them, “I am the resurrection and the life”. And then he raised their brother from the dead, and gave him a new season of life. Mary and Martha remind us that Jesus comes with a voice of hope to us.
Mary Magdalene was in a garden in deep grief and loss after the crucifixion of Jesus. She was really sad. She wondered what sort of life awaited her. In the garden, she heard a voice – and she recognised the voice! It was the voice of the resurrected Jesus, the risen one, calling her name – “Mary”. She jumped up, full of hope, full of new life, and embraced her saviour.
When we give out lives to Jesus as Christians, when we let his life, his resurrection life, become part of our life, then we become the voice of Christ into the world today. The voice of love and hope bringing new life to those who are in despair and in struggle.
We all know what it’s like to struggle and be in despair. We all know what it’s like to mourn. And we all know that in the promise of the resurrected Christ, that there is new life always to be had. That there is a new season that awaits us, and it comes to us fresh every morning as we greet each day, trusting in the promise of God for us.
May you have blessed Easter.
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