An Easter Message from our CEO, Janet Cousens

Today, as Easter approaches, I’d like to share some words on how, together, we can rest in God and hope for peace as we face the challenges that lie ahead.

Words by Janet Cousens, CEO, Act for Peace

Rising above the scenes of horrific violence we have witnessed in the news over the last month, is the remarkable outpouring of praise from Christians in Ukraine.

Gathering in places that afford some protection from the bombs to pray and to sing psalms to our God, they recognise that the Lord is still sovereign, and our freedom in God is not affected by the violence of man.

Today, as Easter approaches, I’d like to share some words on how, together, we can rest in God and hope for peace as we face the challenges that lie ahead.

For me, Easter represents sacrificial love that brings eternal freedom, safety and peace.

Christ gave his life so that all people, no matter their age, gender, ethnicity or status, could choose through Christ’s selfless act to have a direct relationship with the living, loving God.

Whilst Christ was condemned unjustly and his crucifixion was brutal, the consequence is victory over death and destruction, and eternal joy.

For Christians, we live the reality of knowing this as both our current and eternal truth.

Even though today we still experience unacceptable violence, discrimination and destruction, we know the peace given through Jesus, through his death and resurrection, and have hope that all of God’s creation will experience this peace in God’s good timing.

After Christ was crucified, on a Friday, and after the sabbath – the day of rest on the Saturday, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices to anoint Jesus (Mark 16:1). Despite their pain and sorrow, they observed the tradition of resting in God and then acted to anoint Jesus’ body, not only with ‘things’, with spices, but to afford him dignity, with love.

We can be like these beautiful women today, choosing to rest in God amidst what seems like chaos around us and choosing to do what we can for those God loves – we can bring honour, we can be part of the story of indiscriminate love, we can give our ‘spices’ to show dignity and care for those that Christ gave his life for.

In doing so we celebrate the victory won on the cross, even though we still feel the pain of violence and other forms of injustice. This is where I draw my hope – knowing that God is good, that I can rest in knowing that the plan is in place for all people to experience peace with justice.

Natalia and her children are among 150 Ukrainians seeking refuge at a church shelter in Lviv, supported by our Act Alliance partner on the ground. Antti Yrjönen / Finn Church Aid

My hope in Christ is buoyed by our Act for Peace community. It has been an honour for me to pray with partners around the world, and with supporters here in Australia who join us in this hope, who go forward each day trusting in the victory won on the cross and determined to model the sacrificial work of Christ that was given for all.

At Easter we’ll be celebrating in different ways – the sharing of celebratory food may include sweet buns, special cheeses, chocolates or boiling and dying eggs. And our Easter services may be with our community in church buildings or bomb shelters or in a park in the middle of the city we live in, or at home for those isolating with COVID.

Together in our diversity, we celebrate the one truth, and today the witness of Christians in Ukraine brings testimony to this shared hope.

The victory won at Easter, and God’s justice includes a safe and secure home for all people. We know this to be true spiritually for those who choose to welcome Christ. Our prayer and our mission is to see this truth born out physically on earth today.

I hope you and your family can rest in Christ’s blessing this Easter while we remember those around us to whom we can show Christ’s love.

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