Ministers Letter For EASTER 2016.
Our Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
I imagine everyone is worrying about the current global economic, political and environmental situation. We are particularly concerned about the rising cost of living, food insecurity, loans becoming harder to get, news of wars, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions and the worry as to whether to stay in or out of Europe. One must be asking at this point in time, what on earth is happening in the world?
We hear of constant stories of wars, natural disasters and catastrophes that make us think in this direction. Are we in or heading towards the last days? There are continuous wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Mali, Afghanistan, Central Republic of Africa, Gabonese Republic and stories of Boko Haram attacking Christians and Churches in Nigeria, and of course, not forgetting the global terrorist attacks of ISIL and related groups. There’s also ongoing news of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in Indonesia.
Storms are leading to flooding throughout England, with Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Surrey amongst some of the worst hit. This unprecedented flooding in Britain has led to people sadly losing their homes, property and livelihood – in some cases even their lives.
All of these are pointers that remind us about the teachings in the Scripture, and the cautions and commands we are given in Matthew 24: 3-14
“3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
This can be true of our spiritual lives when issues like this begin to happen right before our eyes. We should stop and think seriously about our commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and our services for Him. Unfortunately people tend to live their lives as if there is no tomorrow. They fail to build up spiritual lives, preferring instead to trust in luck and hope that nothing bad will happen. As most of us know, bad things happen to everyone at one time or another. It is during those cloudy, difficult times that we need to rely upon the resources we have built up in our faith in God – because when you are in the dark you cannot see your way out unless you take a light with you.
The light we take at this gloomy time is the light of our Lord Jesus Christ. As John puts it, “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and darkness comprehended it not. St John 1:4-5. The light of Jesus Christ will guide us and lead us whatever situation we are in.
We have just celebrated Jesus, ‘the coming light’, in the past advent season. Now we look forward to this period of Easter, beginning from the period of lent in which we celebrate his work, life, suffering, death and resurrection, and in which we think and work more closely with God. It is my prayer that we use this period of Easter to think seriously about our calling to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations in the light of the current happenings in the world. Remember, Jesus told us to Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” Do not forget this gospel can be taken to every nation through our day to day walk with God, prayers, exemplary Christian life and the practical embodiment of the Gospel for the world to see Jesus.
As we see natural disasters destroy all that we hold dear in this materialistic world, we are reminded that we may have placed our faith in the things of this world – be it money, jobs, government and other things. When we look to the scriptures we are reminded that these things are fleeting and temporary Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Therefore I would urge us to place our trust and faith in that which is eternal – God and His word.
Maybe this time, when we have to tighten our belts, God will help us all to look to the spiritual rather than the materialistic in order to have a good life. Life in all its abundance is after all what Jesus came to bring to us. In this Easter season, with this depressing news of natural, economical, political and environmental disasters remember this: Behold the dark clouds, the sun of God’s glory is always shining” Jesus said in John 10:10 “… I am came that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly”
I wish you all that wonderful, and meaningful, God centred life for this Easter period and beyond.
Rev. Dr. E. Obiabo