Archbishop Philip Freier’s 2019 Easter Message

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In the compressed events of the three days of Easter, from Good Friday to Easter Day, we have rich themes for reflection and contemplation.

And as our society becomes increasingly secularised the deeper story of Christianity is known by fewer people.

Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead are foundational events for Christians, in fact world-defining events that have continuing significance today.

And all humans, if we’re are honest with ourselves, know what it is to fail, to let ourselves and others down.

And when these failures become collective, they can be catastrophic – and the evidence is all around us, today and through the ages.

War, famine, pestilence, persecution, exploitation, abuse and much more can often be laid at the feet of human ambition and selfishness.

Humankind wants to construct the world according to a vision of utopia, but our weaknesses and lack of understanding often lead to failure.

And there are many such examples in human history where dreams have been shattered.

But the greatest calamity that befell humanity is found in the book of Genesis, with the account of our alienation from and rejection of God.

Logically, the story should end there, with God a distant, transcendent figure.

But God, in the infinite mercy and compassion shown through Jesus, does not allow human failure the last word.

God’s word – present, we are told, from the time of Creation – is incarnate in the world in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

He is God’s means of rescue and salvation, fully present as a person like us.

And that is what we celebrate at Easter.

The events of the first Good Friday seemed to Jesus’ followers like failure, desolation and despair.

But by Easter Day the opposite was true, with the good news of hope and salvation.

Jesus’ resurrection would define the religion that developed in his name.

In the story of the Garden of Eden, Adam acted as the head of humankind.

In the same way what Jesus did on the cross he also did as the head of all who believe.

As the Bible teaches, we were crucified together with Christ, we were buried with Christ, and we are risen together with him.

For Christians, no calamity, however unbearable, is the end of the story.

This is what Christians celebrate at Easter.

Have a joyous celebration of these great events of God’s love in the world.