Message of Easter is a Message of Hope
Let me start with a story of a young lady from India.
Arunima Sinha! A former Indian national volleyball player, who had lots of hopes about her future, Sinha had an incident where she was thrown off from a moving train while resisting a robbery. This resulted in her left leg being cut off, rods inserted into her right leg, and multiple fractures in the spinal cord.
She spent many months in a hospital to recover. All her dreams and hopes crashed down because of that incident.
But she never let her dreams and hopes die. She even started dreaming higher things. While recovering she resolved to climb Mount Everest.
Sinha became the world’s first female amputee to climb the Mount Everest. She went on to be the first female amputee to climb the six more highest mountains in Africa, Europe, Australia, South America, Antarctica by 2019.
In a complete hopeless situation she has achieved, which completely able people can not even think of. Many a time we just don’t have any hopes and aspirations, and most of the time we blame our circumstances for that.
When I think about Arunima, I think of the Easter story and the way that the hopes and aspirations of the Disciples were first dashed then restored.
When the disciples first followed Jesus, they had great hopes; these grew into an excitement on Palm Sunday when Jesus’ entered the city as a celebrity. But as the events of the Holy Week unfolded the Disciples’ hopes and aspirations perhaps wobbled before they came crashing down around them as Jesus was arrested and then crucified on Good Friday. Jesus’ followers slinked off home, defeated and disheartened. They thought it was the end. Easter Saturday must have been horrendous day for them. But then came Easter Sunday; Jesus rose again to life on the Sunday morning, the empty tomb, the resurrection, and meeting Jesus again, brought new hope for the disciples. For Christians, the death and resurrection of Jesus lies at the heart of what it means to be truly human. Because Christians believe that every barrier that might be placed between turning evil to good, between lies and truth, between slavery and freedom, and ultimately, between God and humanity, was broken down on that first Easter Sunday.
For Christians, the Easter story represents hope of a new start, a new direction, a new future, and the opportunity to be truly fulfilled humans. You may share a belief in that Christian message of hope. You may follow another faith or believe that human resources alone are enough. Yet there is something for all of us in the Easter story. Every one of us has experienced times when we felt so discouraged, so let down by other people that we felt there was no way out, just like those followers of Jesus on that first Good Friday. It may be that now we all feel a little bit like Jesus’ followers – the world seems uncertain and dangerous. The Coronavirus Pandemic has hit us so badly, the whole world has become a different place because of the impact of the pandemic. Then what is happening in Ukraine, all destruction and refugee crisis, is affecting the whole world and challenging us all, to do some thing, because the situation is getting hopeless. To add into this, the situation around us here in our town, our neighbourhood and in our school doesn’t look promising. Always there is a sense of insecurity and hopelessness around us. Many people are suffering from isolation, abuse, and mental illness. The news on media constantly raises our concerns, creating a picture of a world we can no longer really understand.
Easter, however, is a story of hope. Easter tells us that, however bad our situation might appear to be, there is a way forward, even if we can’t see it right now. It’s a ‘never say die’ story, but it needs to be real for us as individuals. It needs to be tangible. So, where might our hope come from? Let’s start with people. It’s easy to feel like you’re on your own. But what about others? Can you spot anyone else who’s caught in the Good Friday feeling? Why not be the person who brings their suffering to an end? If you can bring hope to them, maybe the hope will rub off on you. We start by making ourselves look outwards rather than inwards, even in these difficult times – reaching out to people in need, feeding the hungry, supporting the weaker, encouraging the struggler, helping the most vulnerable through social media, phone, text, even through personal meetings! – reaching out to those who we know might be feeling distressed. Let us use our time to take a real look at our lives and what matters. Let us start with today.
Rev. Aftab Gohar