Brethren Archdeacons, Pastors, Catechists, Leaders of home cell groups, All Christians,
Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, and have a Happy Easter!
Easter is a very important feast in the Scripture and in the Church, and Christians should be zealous in celebrating it and meditating on what it teaches us. Easter in the Old Testament is a word which means “to Passover”. The death which passed amongst the Israelites did not affect them because of the sign of the blood of the Lamb on the doors of their houses (Exodus 12: 21-23). Death afflicts beasts, terrifies humans, but the power to defeat it is found; Alleluia! Thanks to the blood of Jesus Christ from the New Testament and the resurrection of Jesus, death often passes over us in this life without any effect. But even if we die, rest assured in the hope. At the end of Christians’ present life, their death is sleep because the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ will awaken us, resurrect us, and bring us to the new life (Rom. 8:11; 1 Thess. 4): 14). Alleluia!
During these days of the COVID-19 pandemic, what many people may have thought is, “We are dead! We are all finished!”. This is often the case in the circumstances of disasters, diseases, epidemics, famines, the heart is full of “this is the end, we are dead!” Paul went through a series of trials and was on the point of dying, but God who raised the dead was able to save him from death on several occasions: “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead (2 Cor. 1: 9)”. As we celebrate the Passover, let us remember that Jesus is risen and alive and hope that when we are with Him, life triumphs over death, restoration is found. Our hope is to live in the name of Jesus, to see the good times return, to see what we missed return, to see God compensate us.
For those who have lost their faith or backslided from the ways of God, Jesus wants to raise you from the death of sin and bring you back to life, he wants to fortify you, trust Him, come back to Him and lean on Him all the time. For those tired of the anxieties and challenges you face, Jesus gives you the strength to endure and overcome temptations as He has overcome them. Those who stand firm in salvation, rejoice in our Lord Jesus, and do not be discouraged, but trust in the power of Christ to continue your journey into the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 10: 12-13; Phil. 4:13).
In this year 2021, remember that the goal of the Diocese of Shyogwe is “Let us go in the authority of Jesus and change” (Matt. 28: 19-20). We are called to share with others the Good news of Jesus’s resurrection, to let them know that Jesus overcame sin and death so that we may have eternal life. So our bodies and hearts are first to die on sins so that we may die with Jesus who died for our sins, and to live a new life that pleases our Lord who died and rose again for us (2 Cor. 5:15). Only then can we be clothed with His authority and glory as He was after His resurrection, and go to make many true disciples of Jesus. Brethren, let us reach out to the lost sheep, strengthen the weary, heal the wounded and the broken, do it under the authority of Jesus Christ.
In celebration of this Easter, Brethren, know and receive the life that Jesus gives, celebrate the love and power of God that has freed us from the bondage of sin and death and go in the authority of Jesus and change. Reach out to the slaves of drunkenness and tobacco and cannabis, to the slaves of fornication, prostitution, and homosexuality, and change. Tell those who practice divination and witchcraft that Jesus saves. May you instruct spouses who are abusive, irresponsible, abandoning their partners, planning to divorce, those who do not know how to raise their families out of extreme poverty, those who are not clean on their bodies, clothes and household items, and those without toilets, so that they can achieve healthier lives, better relationships and economic development. Reach out to teenagers. Train them to respect themselves and avoid sexual immorality and sexual violence in order to please God and prevent teenage pregnancies. Christians, be diligent in preserving the environment by planting ordinary trees and fruit trees on your own soil and church soil and sensitising your neighbors to do so. May you encourage your fellow Christians and neighbours to observe instructions for preventing the COVID-19 pandemic spreading to protect themselves and others.
May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word always, Amen (2 Tess 2:16-17).
I again wish you and your family a happy Easter!
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Jered Kalimba
Bishop of EAR Shyogwe Diocese.