Thoughtful and thought provoking article on Easter hope from the Vicar General, Bishop Chris Jones.
I can’t speak for New Zealanders or the Japanese, but I believe Australians like to see themselves as resilient. Perhaps we feel that resilience is somehow built into our genes over generations, as we constantly bounce back from adversity, all too familiar in a land of ‘droughts and flooding rains’.
I think there is more to it than that; that our resilience has its origins in our Christian heritage. For Christians, there is a deep-seated inner joy and optimism, unaffected by external adversity, which sustains and empowers us. Theologians call this Christian Hope.
Of course, Christians respond to natural disasters, human folly and personal suffering just like anybody else: they are tragic and sad events. But, beneath the surface, we are sustained by Christian Hope, that inner sense that God is with us in the tragedy and will see us safely through the valley of the shadow of death.
That’s an Easter attitude: we are sustained through the tragedy of the crucifixion by the joy and hope of the empty tomb. That may be ‘the greatest story ever told’ but it is far more than a story – for Christians, it is also a personal experience of Christian Hope. . . .
We must not take that life-affirming source of resilience for granted.
We need to tend constantly our reservoir of Christian Hope, to build it up and care for it throughout our Christian journey. In traditional terms, we need to ‘practise the presence of God’, to remind ourselves often that God is with us, in our personal lives and in the sweep of history. We do that through immersing ourselves in the scriptures, through receiving the sacraments, through prayer and meditation, through worship and fellowship or, most effectively, through all of the above.
At the heart of it, we nurture our Christian Hope through the timelessness of the Easter story, through hearing it and living it, as we contemplate a God who was able to bring the hope of the empty tomb out of the stark tragedy of the crucifixion.
See the full article in the April 2011 Tasmanian Anglican magazine, An Easter Attitude.