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Easter message

Easter message to the churches from the general secretary of the WCC, March 2004

31 March 2004

March 2004

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pe 1:3).

Christ is Risen!
This year this joyful exclamation will be simultaneously pronounced by all Christian Churches, because the two Christian traditions of the East and of the West will celebrate Easter on the same day.

We consider this coincidence of dates as a real gift and blessing of the Risen Lord to his people and to his church, and we humbly confess the failure of our efforts for having a common celebration of this “feast of feasts” and a common witness to the resurrection of our Lord on the same day.

It is our hope that churches and Christians throughout the world will join in prayer and celebration to mark this rare occasion of an Easter on the same Sunday everywhere.

It is our hope -- and fervent prayer to the Risen Lord -- that this year’s common celebration will encourage churches and Christians to revive and accelerate their efforts towards agreeing for a permanent common day for celebrating together Christ’s resurrection.

We promise that the World Council will continue to invite churches to work together on this and we express gratitude to all those churches who have invited one another as a particular way of marking this occasion.

In the midst of so many atrocities overtly committed by the powers of sin and death, we praise God because our Lord’s passion and resurrection allow God to enter forcefully everywhere there is human pain and transform it into a source of hope and life.

In the midst of so many acts of injustice and violence which disfigure human beings and creation, we praise God because in Christ’s resurrection darkness is reversed by light, death by life, hatred by reconciliation, sin by forgiveness, the reign of the evil by the reign of Christ.

In the midst of so much personal and communal, physical and psychological suffering, we praise God because Christ’s powerlessness on the cross communicates the authentic love of God for the whole world and God’s transformative love for each and every human being, while Christ’s resurrection becomes source of renewal and constant transformation of the world through the coming realities of God’s future.

Christ is Risen! In Christ’s glorious resurrection “death is destroyed and victory is complete” (1 Cor 15:54). Christ’s resurrection is a new exodus, liberation for those who are oppressed, comfort for the persecuted, plenitude for the deprived, exaltation for the humiliated, hope for the despairing.

The women disciples show us the way: they dare where the apostles fear; they act courageously when the apostles are paralysed by their doubts; they wipe their tears and go to proclaim the good news to the world.

Christ is Risen! May the light of the resurrection shine before us all.
Christ is Risen! May the joy of the resurrection fill our lives.
Christ is Risen! May the common celebration of the resurrection renew our commitment to the unity of the Body of Christ, the Church.

Samuel Kobia
WCC general secretary