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
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:
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
"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?
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