Hope at Easter
Two years ago, the Covid-19 pandemic jolted us out of our comfortable, self-sufficient tendencies. And just as we were beginning to feel like we could relax a little, another jolt, in the form of a war in Europe, comes along to yet again remind us that we are not in control.
I’m sure many of us will be feeling a mixture of emotions in these days: helplessness; heartbreak over what the Ukrainian people are going through; guilt at the comforts we enjoy; fear over what an escalation in the war could mean; and anxiety over the rising living costs, which were already in motion and have now ramped up, putting a significant strain on many people’s finances.
Uel Marrs puts the war in the context of Ukraine’s troubled history, which highlights how much these people have already suffered through the generations. He also outlines the support that PCI’s partners are providing on the ground, and reminds us that many Christians are caught up in the conflict, whether fighting, sheltering or fleeing. He says, “Let us pray that out of their indescribable pain and brokenness, God would make them to be a blessing wherever they go, as he continues to unfold his kingdom purposes.”
And it’s not just Ukraine that troubles our minds. Cecil Graham asks us to consider Christians throughout the world who are suffering terribly through persecution. For many, this has been made much worse by the pandemic. He reports: “Christians in Nigeria experienced exceptional violence and discrimination…In the Gulf region, Christians have been turned away from healthcare provision. In Central Asia they were overlooked for government help…” Our brothers and sisters in Christ clearly need our committed thoughts and prayers.
As we approach Easter, it is the perfect season to affirm our trust and reliance upon God in these uncertain times, and to remind ourselves that this world is not our home. In his reflection, Dr David Bruce stresses that we are a resurrection people, who can view all earthly events with an eternal perspective: “…the biblical story of Good Friday leading to Resurrection Sunday offers us a hope-filled pathway to follow in the sometimes shocking harshness of the Christian life. When it may seem that because of the bruising nature of the battle, all hope is lost, it is not.”
Hope is of key importance to Colin Tinsley, who provides his Life lessons. His organisation, Hope for Youth Ministries, has been proactive in raising money and gathering practical donations for Ukrainians, already sending out 31 lorryloads of supplies. On his Facebook page, he is clear about where his hope comes from: “Through it all, may God be the glory and Christ be the focus.”
The Presbyterian Herald is the official magazine of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. It provides a forum for debate and discussion on a wide range of topics and aims to challenge and encourage Presbyterians, as well as inform them about what the wider Church is involved in. It has a readership in excess of 25,000 and is distributed throughout Ireland.
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