This is my annual Easter message to the people of Uganda, and, today, I want to talk mostly about Jesus. Because Easter is first and foremost about Jesus.
We have been through a lot recently as a country. Since Christmas, I have tried to remind all of us that “politics is not our salvation – only Jesus is our salvation.”
During the wonderful commemoration of Archbishop Janani Luwum’s life and martyrdom in Mucwini on 16th February, I stressed that “Politics will change, but the Word of God does not change.”
Now, during this Holy Week, I want to call all of us, once again, to “turn our eyes upon Jesus.”
Last Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday, remembering the day Jesus rode triumphantly in to Jerusalem with many people waving palm branches, shouting support, and declaring him the King of the Jews. Yet, Jesus was riding humbly on a donkey!
Tomorrow, we shall remember the Last Supper, when Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples, washed the feet of his disciples, and instituted the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of him.
On Friday, we shall lift high the cross. Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all people to myself.”
At the moment Jesus died on the cross, the Bible says that “the curtain of the temple was torn in two.” That curtain separated the temple worshippers from the Holy of holies; it separated the people from the presence of God. When Jesus died, he paid the price for your sin and for my sin, and he removed the barrier between you and God. On the cross, Jesus opened the way for everyone to approach God through the forgiveness of their sins.
Finally, on Sunday, we shall celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. Brothers and sisters – Jesus is not dead on the cross. Jesus is not buried in the tomb. Jesus is alive! He is a living God, alive and active today, and, as the hymn says, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.”
Our only hope as a country is in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ.
Our only future as a country is in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ.
Your only hope and future as an individual is in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ. Do you know him?
We have serious issues facing our families today – domestic violence; marital infidelity; women, children and youth being trafficked; defilement; pre-marital sex; illness and untimely deaths. These are only some of the many issues our families are dealing with.
We also have serious issues facing our country – corruption, violence, greed, injustice, youth unemployment, land grabbing. There are many issues confronting us.
Where do we find hope?
What is our destiny?
The hymns say it very well – “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.” And, “Because He lives, we can face tomorrow.”
As a country, we are different tribes, different denominations, and different political parties. Yet, more than any other time in the year, this week we declare that Jesus died for every tribe; Jesus died for every denomination; Jesus died for every political party. It is only through the crucified and risen Jesus that we can overcome our divisions. He has broken down all the dividing walls; the curtain of the temple has been torn in two.
It is only through the crucified and risen Jesus that we can be forgiven of our sins and that we can be forgiven from our personal contributions to the challenges we are facing today.
It is only through the crucified and risen Jesus that we can find healing and reconciliation as families and as a country.
I would like to congratulate His Excellency, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, upon his victory in the recent presidential elections, and I send him, Mama Janet, and their entire family special greetings this Easter. I also send special greetings to all the other Presidential candidates who campaigned so well. I will be very happy to greet you personally in church on Sunday. I also send greetings to departing and incoming Members of Parliament, district and local government officials.
I also greet all the Bishops and their wives, the Clergy, Lay Readers and Christians of the Church of Uganda.
Finally, I send my sincere greetings, along with prayers for a blessed Holy Week and glorious Easter for our Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Pentecostal brethren, and to all those who have put their trust and faith in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ.
This Easter, as families and as a country, let us all “Turn our eyes upon Jesus.”
HAPPY EASTER TO YOU ALL!
The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali
ARCHBISHOP OF CHURCH OF UGANDA