Easter greetings of joy in the Name of our Risen Lord.
It has been a great blessing to once again celebrate Easter on two consecutive Sundays in Nazareth this year! This is due of course to the fact that both the Western and Eastern Church calendars are observed here, which gives one the opportunity of twice reflecting on the suffering, death and glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This re-enactment of the final week of Jesus’ life provides a profoundly moving depiction of his suffering, death on the cross and resurrection from the tomb, and has become a much anticipated and sought-after Easter event for the people of Nazareth and surrounding areas.
Witnessed by over 3,000 people over the four days it ran this Easter, on the final day the office was inundated with calls from local people eager to try and obtain entry to the remaining four productions which were fully booked. Both the setting and the crowd participation add to the impact and poignancy of this dramatic story. Many people were moved to tears at the scene of the crucifixion above the wine press, and shouts of joy and applause at the scene of the resurrection as Jesus reappears and commissions his joyful disciples to go into all the world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.
As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead this Easter, we are reminded of the victory of life over suffering and death, hope over despair and light over darkness.
However, we are also reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul who said: ” I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11).
This is why the Apostle Peter also writes, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” (1 Peter 4:12-14)
Notice the link between suffering and glory in these passages which is the same message that Jesus shared with the disciples on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection when he said, “Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things (death on the cross) and then enter his glory?.” (Luke 24:26)
May God fill us all with hope, endurance and joy this Easter season to continue to follow our Risen Lord who has suffered, died and risen in great glory.
With blessings to you and your families!