A reflection for Easter
E te iwi, e te hoa ma, tena koutou katoa.
Friends, I greet you this Holy Week in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
We are, as a people, been facing an uncertain future in our country, and indeed around the world. We are bracing ourselves for this uncertainty where we learn to adjust to these challenges, the scale of which, I would never ever have imagined possible in our modern world.
The reality of being in lockdown as a nation occurred in the Lenten season. It has been perhaps the right time for us to consider deeply the trials that lay ahead of us as human beings, and as Christians.
Through Lent, and now in the holiest week in the Christian calendar, we journey with Jesus after his temptation and entry into Jerusalem, into his passion and death. We walk with him to his betrayal, his arrest and trial, subjected to the humiliation of being flogged, condemned and put to death on the cross. Even on the cross, Jesus could not escape being taunted by those next to him.
The horror and brutality of the cross causes us to bare our humanity to each other, and before God. In doing so we trust implicitly in God alone to save and deliver us.
A major disruption has transpired on God’s earth. That disruption has caused death around the world, and it has caused economies and institutions to crash. That in turn has had a massive impact on the health and well-being of the whole of humanity.
To date, there has just been the one single death as a result of COVID-19 in New Zealand. That one life seems to have sent a shock wave through our land and has awakened in us the reality of what we are facing. Everyone is taking seriously our collective responsibility to preserve all life, not just our own, but every life on earth.
We are to trust in God’s goodness and mercy during this time. We are to show Jesus’s love to our neighbour, especially those in need. Keeping this in mind and before us at all times, we know that we are never alone in our suffering.
When we come out the other side of COVID 19, we will be presented with an opportunity to push the start button, where we can build a world and a society based on the values of the kingdom of God to give us total security. Those values speak of the love of God: the extraordinary love of God, the unconditional love of God, and the extravagant love of God. God’s love is the one and only foundation for our world.
The kingdom is one which relies utterly on God to keep us: that is God’s love, God’s mercy, God’s grace and God’s peace which we know to be true and right in Jesus Christ our Saviour, the King of Kings, whose kingdom is on earth, and in heaven, where he reigns supreme now and forever.
Kia hora te marino.
Kia whakapapa pounamu te moana.
Kia tere te karohirohi i mua i o koutou huarahi.
May peace be widespread.
May the sea glisten like the greenstone.
May the shimmer of light dance before your path.
And to add the words of the Psalmist: My God bless your coming in and your going out from this day and forever more. Amen.
The Rt Rev’d Te Kitohi Pikaahu, Anglican Bishop of Tai Tokerau