Editor’s note: For many people across the world, this year’s Easter will look unlike other previous celebrations. This is the first time such a historical day for the church is observed when no church gatherings, no neighborhood interactions, and no festive meals with extended family and friends.
This is the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic that has caused lockdown in various parts of the world.
Particularly for Rwandans, the day comes when the country and friends of Rwandans across the world are observing the 26th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Easter celebration is taking place-just differently since church services are going online.
In his Easter sermon that was aired and televised, Archbishop of Anglican Church in Rwanda Dr Laurent Mbanda expresses his Easter wishes to all people from all corners.
“To all of you where you are in homes, May I wish you happy Easter “He is risen. He is risen, He is risen…”he said.
Mbanda described Easter to be a special moment in the history of the church when the church commemorates the resurrection of the Lord and Savior.
“Resurrection means so much for us; Easter means so much for us. When I think of Easter I think of life. When I think of Easter, I think of salvation. When I think of Easter, I think of resurrection which gives us life, hope, and brings us joy and strengthens our Faith in God and His promises. God has given us a living hope,” he noted.
Using the scriptures in 1 Peter 1:1-9, Archbishop said that these words are wonderful and are of encouragement where Peter urged His leaders to focus their hope on the coming of Jesus Christ which would result in lifestyle that reflects the whole nature of God.
Resurrection gives us hope
According to the preacher, the resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us a living hope.
Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. It is not a wish, it is an expectation that something will happen and it will be positive. Hope tells us to expect something good, he explained.
“Our hope is in God. People of Hope live expectantly waiting for God to fulfill His promises. People of hope, they trust in God, they wait upon God, they anticipate His blessings. We are people of hope,”
3 things Hope relates to….
Mbanda explained that Hope relates to Salvation. John 11:25-26 Jesus says “I am the resurrection and life.”
That is who we celebrate today. He is the life, He is the resurrection and God demonstrates His love to us when He gave His son to die on the cross for our sins and today we celebrate His victory, the sermon continues
Life without Easter is life without hope. He is risen. His victory creates a new relationship between God and Us.
Archbishop added that Hope relates to the future.
“My definition from my personal experience, hope means seeing God in Action. The word of God is the source of our hope. Hope builds us and produces certain characteristics in us that are essential for our lives and for how we go around our businesses,”
The kind of hope that God produces in us, they are holistic in nature. They touch every aspect of us.
Hope builds confidence in us because we trust in God. Hope builds patience according to Romans 5:3. Hope keeps you on your knees and preserves you in a prayer because you are trusting God.
Hope stabilizes the soul in God according to Hebrews 3:6, it gives peace, and expectations.
According to Paul, Hope of the Gospel is the promises of God. Where there is no hope, there is a depression. Where there is no hope, there is anxiety, and a sense of loneliness.
Hope in such unusual circumstances..?
The Preacher, “Someone may ask this question about how we can hope when everything around us is falling apart?”…… how may we hope in this difficult situation of commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tusti, and of Corona that has taken the lives of thousands………
Why can we say that this is a time to hope?
Archbishop said: “This is a time to trust God, this is the time to put yourself in the hands of God because He is your creator, maker of Heaven and Earth, the one who loved you and demonstrated His love by giving His own son. The son was crucified but he has risen and we sing praises for that.
Our hope is in God, our answers are in God, we trust God for who He is and for what He says in His word……. as in Psalm we find that His word is the source of our hope. We are the people who trust in God’s promises. That is what comforts us in unusual circumstances, in bad seasons, in disasters and pandemics, and Coronavirus times.”
God will make a way
Referencing to the Don Moen’s song, the preacher said that God will make a way where it seems to be no way.
“God will make a way where it seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see. He will make a way for me, He will be my guide who holds me closely to His side………….”
Rwandans have many thanks
God has made a way for us. “When we see where we came from and where we are today, there are so many things to thank God for.”
The same in your life, when you look back to your past and your present you find many reasons to thank God for, he added.
God can still make a way where it seems to be no way. We do not know about the future, but God knows. We thank God for where he took us from and where He places us today.
Hopelessness makes us unhappy and gloomy people. Hopelessness sees no possible in a certain situation, it does not allow you to enjoy a success. It brings depression, anxiety and disorders.
These are difficult time my brothers and sisters, the church is not a building; the church is you and me. The church is the body of Christ and you are part of the body.
May God help you understand the meaning of Easter and Hope of the Gospel.