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Easter Message from Baghdad, Iraq

by Rev. Fr. Alexander J. Kurien, FRICS, CFA, MAI

I send greetings to everyone from Baghdad. During this joyful season of new life and renewal, Christians around the world celebrate the central event of their faith-the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, whom Christians believe is the Messiah, the Son of God.

I was awakened this Easter Morning at 5:30 AM with five Iraqi fired rockets hitting the Palace Compound, possibly 50 feet from the Palace Compound Walls. My trailer moved few feet from the impact of the explosion. These five rockets has done so much destruction, your eyes cannot believe it. These kinds of constant events really brings you very close to our Creator. We take life for granted. Please, life is too precious and we must cherish every moment of it and live a God fearing life to do the Will of God. We are created in His image and likeness to be Christ Like in every thing we do and say. Let refocus our lives and hearts on this Easter Morning ourselves to live His purpose in this world.

The life and teachings of Jesus have inspired people throughout the ages to strive for a better world and a more meaningful life. Jesus' death stands out in history as the perfect example of unconditional love. The four Gospels of the Christian Bible recount Jesus' amazing life, his miraculous death, resurrection, and ascension, and his unending offer of salvation to all.

The story of Jesus wondrous resurrection comes alive again for Christians each year at Easter. Easter Sunday commemorates in song and celebration the joy and promise of Christ's triumph over evil and death. Christians around the world gather together to sing well-loved hymns to God's glory, remembering the signs and wonders of God's grace revealed in Jesus. And they again will hear Gospel readings such as Saint Luke's rendering of that first Easter morning when the Angel asked:

 "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!"

The greatest news that has ever flashed from heaven to earth is that Christ the Lord is risen. The power of those words changed the course of history, brought hope to a hopeless world, and gave believers a purpose and a power that they had never known before. What relevance has Easter and the Resurrection of Christ for us? Everything! The risen Christ, being alive forevermore, can do today what He did for those who received and believed Him in days gone by.

The Resurrection Redeems Us

Christ said, 

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live" (John 5:25).

Have you been raised to new life in Christ? You who are beset by sin and temptation? You who lie at death's door? You who are discouraged and despondent today? You who experience gnawing fear and insecurity? I tell you that the risen Christ can raise you out of your spiritual lifelessness and transform you, as the coming of spring transforms a seemingly dead cocoon into a beautiful butterfly.

The Resurrection Empowers Us

The living Christ is able to bring all your energies and powers into focus and to help you to be a conqueror over the world, the flesh and the devil. The Bible says, 

"He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25).

The same power that raised Christ from the dead is available to you today. The moment that you receive Him as Savior, the Holy Spirit comes into your heart and takes up residence. He gives you the power to overcome temptation, to smile through tears, to have lightness of heart in the midst of life's burdens.

God wants you to have His power today. He longs to give it to you, but you must by faith open your heart. When you come to the cross of Christ for forgiveness of sin, the Holy Spirit raises you from the mundane and the monotonous and the hopeless to new and adventuresome life filled with dynamic power.

The Resurrection Gives Us Hope

Is there hope? That is the constant cry of humanity, and Easter is the answer to that cry. The New Testament is the textbook of hope. That word occurs again and again after Christ was risen from the dead. It was the Resurrection of Jesus Christ that set off a chain reaction of hope around the world. And Christian hope is the one lone ray of light on the foreboding clouds of despair that canopy our world. On the purely human level, there is little hope in the world. International tensions become more complex and increasingly insoluble with each passing day. Crime, immorality and lawlessness seem to be worsening daily. In the battle for the minds and hearts of the world's peoples, wrong seems to be winning, and right seems to be losing. But the Scripture says, 

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3).

There is hope for all in Christ today. There is hope beyond the grave, because the same power that raised Christ from the dead will also raise those who confess Him. Death becomes only a veil, only a river to cross. On the other side is heaven, home and Christ. I do not know what people without Christ do. They must have utter hopelessness. There just is no hope without Christ.

Easter, with its message of Resurrection power, brings you face to face with the living Christ. You have to make a choice. Will you choose to accept Christ and the life that He alone can give you? Or will you choose to reject Him and be lost for all eternity?

Source: IOIF

See Also:

Easter Greetings
The message of Easter is the good tidings. Jesus is risen. It is a good news for the whole world. It proclaims Jesusí victory over death. It is the victory of all those who accept the good news.

The Easter Sermon of St. John Chrysostom

About the Author: Alexander J. Kurien is OBO Chief Liaison Officer to COM, US Department of State. He is currently posted at Baghdad, Iraq

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