Growing up, I was immersed in a particular form of storytelling.
These stories all had a recurring theme.
A perceived threat arose against an individual or the community, the threat was named and identified in a particular character, this character was defeated and removed from the community and everyone was happy again.
Many of our fairy tales, our superheroes, our literature, our myths, legends and movies are based on this formula.
We know this story well, and can even see it playing out in the world around us as we seek to live in peace and comfort.
It is a story where all the frailties, weaknesses and sins of the community are placed upon one person or group who is removed or destroyed to restore peace and harmony.
Unfortunately, the Easter story has been retold in this same way over many decades.
The world was in a mess.
God decided to send Jesus amongst the people to show them how to live.
He was not accepted and many despised him.
God sent Jesus to the cross to take upon himself the sins of the world so that we might be saved.
The one is sacrificed for the benefit of the community.
This story has been part of my life for a long time, and I can see how it is used to justify labelling and victimising of “the other”.
The Muslim, the gay, the addicted, or anyone who thinks a little differently to us are subjected to the convert or be convicted rhetoric.
This Easter, I am trying to recall the real essence of the story, which began with a man named Jesus.
His story is one of non-violence.
He ate with people who were on the fringes and challenged the social norms by associating with “the other”.
When confronted with violence he found a third way of being, even to the point of death.
Jesus believed so firmly in God’s love for all people, that even when faced with his own crucifixion he did not back down.
This is a different story. It is one of transformation, love, courage and compassion.
Every time I see someone following this story of non-violence rather than the myth of redemptive violence that we all know so well, I celebrate the life, love and hope of Easter.
I see Jesus alive in that situation; be it the Neve Shalom school where Palestinian and Israeli children share desks together; or the Kenyan woman who creates soccer tournaments between warring tribes; or the average Aussie who befriends a Muslim person to learn about their life.
I do not pretend this is easy – I grew up with Red Riding Hood too.
Let’s start small! This Easter I will start by having an inner look at myself and how I am with those closest to me.
I might not change the world overnight, but if I can practice in small ways I will begin to learn a different story.
You are all invited to join us for our journey through Easter at the Uniting Church.
Maundy Thursday 7pm Augusta
Good Friday 9.30am Margaret River and Augusta
Easter Sunday 9.30am Margaret River and Augusta
Augusta Uniting Church – 68 Blackwood Avenue
Margaret River Uniting Church – 60 Tingle Avenue
- Minister Cathie Lambert
There is still good news in ‘world gone crazy’
When I was a young bloke we sang along with Bob Marley about the "world gone crazy".
So what on earth is happening?
Wars, rumors of wars, terrorism, floods, cyclones, drug epidemic, violence, anxiety and depression, family breakdowns, suicide.
We see it on our TV's every night, invading our lounge rooms, our community, our towns and maybe happening in your own home.
Constantly being bombarded by 'in your face' bad news.
It turns out Bob was right, but only half right.
Because there is some really good news too.
The message that Easter brings is the answer to this messed-up world.
2000 years ago Jesus entered this crazy world with a radical message of hope, healing, restoration, redemption and eternal life.
This was made possible to all who believe in Him through His sacrificial death on the cross.
Jesus demonstrated God's love for the world by choosing the humble path and paying the price for our sin.
But it didn't finish there - Jesus defeated the power of death and hell and then rose again from the dead!
The good news is that God's free gift of eternal life to you and me is not based on our own works or what we can do.
It is based on what Jesus has already done on our behalf.
Not some dead religion, but a relationship with a living God.
There is so much promise, so much hope, so much life and so much good news in following Jesus, it's enough to keep you satisfied for a lifetime! (and eternity)
Have a great Easter,
- Jack Hough, Surfsidechurch
You're welcome to join us at our Easter Sunday service at Surfsidechurch, 34 Station Rd Margaret River @ 10am on Sunday.
Easter in the Augusta Margaret River Anglican Parish
Maundy Thursday 5pm Augusta; 11am Margaret River
Good Friday 9am Margaret River; 9.30am Augusta
Easter Sunday 9am Margaret River; 9.30am Augusta; 10am Cowaramup.
For information call 9757 38 58.