EASTER IS ALL ABOUT LOVE
As far as I’m concerned, the key season in the Christian calendar – and the most meaningful and authentic – is Easter. Yes, it’s great to celebrate Christmas, but I think many would agree it has become too commercial.
Easter, however, still retains the sense of being a momentous, exceptional and totally revolutionary moment in world history and Christianity. I mean, how many faiths can claim that its Founder, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rose from the dead? None. Christianity is the only faith that makes this claim, and it is this one fact that makes Easter so special.
Christians serve a risen Saviour. At some point in his or her life, any follower of Christ will share how they felt called or led to live according to biblical teachings, after acknowledging that they were a sinner, and after accepting the grace and forgiveness to be found in Jesus.
It’s beholden then for believers, in this Easter season, to look again at the ways we can make those around us understand the power, joy and peace to be found in serving Him.
As part of a Black Pentecostal church, it’s too easy to become so focused on being people of great faith, who do works for God, that we forget that the core message of Christianity.
The Easter Story is in essence a love story – one of the greatest the world has ever seen. Jesus Himself let the world know the significance of His death and resurrection, when He told Jewish rabbi, Nicodemus: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
If there is anything that demonstrates the impact of Jesus in this world – and on our lives as His followers – it’s our willingness to love others, in word and deed. If we can’t (or won’t), the Easter Story has had no impact on us.
In his letters to the church, John wrote: “ This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:16-18).
The Easter Story is a love story, and we must respond to this love by doing our best to be Christ’s agents of love in this world – a world that is always in need of it.
On March 10, thousands of people attended the funeral of Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes, the 15-year-old boy, who was run down in the street by his assailant, and fatally stabbed on the streets of Willesden, north-west London.
This story struck a chord with the whole of London, because of the senseless taking of a life that had held so much promise.
It’s a sad indictment on the Black community that, after all these years, this issue is still not under control, and our children – I’m talking Black children – still live in fear of their lives.
As I’ve written before in this column, I am a firm believer of going back to go forward, and I think as a community we have some major reflection to do – and action to take – on bringing an end to this problem once and for all.
We need to keep asking ourselves questions like: What can we do to make our children feel safe and secure, both within their homes and on the streets? How can we help those parents who have lost the confidence or the will to parent their children properly? How can we support those children who feel unloved and abandoned by their parents? And how can we mediate in the baby-mother/baby-father wars, so that both parents work together in the best interests of their children?
There’s a war going on in the heart of our community, and our children are the casualties. We – and I’m talking everyone – have the power to call a truce and to broker peace. The main question to ask is: Are we willing and ready to do so?
You Gotta Have Faith
Sometimes, our failure in life to achieve our goals and ambitions has nothing to do with God not answering our prayers, or the devil placing obstacles in our way. Rather, it has everything to do with our mindset, self-belief and unwillingness to believe God’s Word.
In my view, Hebrews 11 verses 1 and 6 are key Bible verses. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as comprising of a hope for things or situations that have not yet materialised; Hebrews 11:6 shares why we need faith, and that we serve a God who acts when we trust Him.
Could it be that sometimes our prayers, dreams and aspirations don’t come to pass because, when we talk to God, deep down we have unbelief in our hearts, and don’t truly believe that whatever we hope and pray for will become a reality?
If you are failing to experience the answers you are praying for, you may have to undergo a mindset change and actually start believing God’s Word. God will surprise you when you do.