EBF Easter Message
EBF Easter Message
The Glory of Christ - Easter Day 2008
Oil on canvas, 30 x 24in/76 x 61cm
Artist: Stephen B. Whatley
Private collection, Eastcote, Middlesex, UK
Dear brothers and sisters,
This year Easter in East and West is only separated by a week. So I write to the whole EBF family to encourage us at this time to focus together on the crucified and risen Christ in whom alone we can find our true and lasting hope.
Last week our EBF Executive met in Elstal, Germany. We shared the many encouraging signs of God’s presence among us, we prayed for wisdom to face and overcome some of the challenges before us, and we especially remembered our churches who will make their Easter witness in the midst of persecution and conflict.
So our thought and prayers turned to Syria and Eastern Ghouta, which is in many ways is at this time the ‘Golgotha’ of the Middle East, the place of intense suffering and the end of human hopes. We must not become immune to the cries from Syria for an end to the terrible conflict and a lasting peace.
Here is one voice from the region:
We invite you to join us in prayer so that human life in Eastern Ghouta may be safeguarded and that the ceasefire voted by the UN’s security council recently may be respected from both sides.
Crouched in the darkness of underground shelters, civilians in Eastern Ghouta in Syria have been under heavy shelling for the past week. Food is scarce and when available it is beyond the means of most families. While being directly targeted by the bombings, Hospitals and clinics, or what is left of them, are overwhelmed with the stream of wounded civilians, of whom many were used as human shields. The dead are now counted by the hundreds and the wounded by the thousands.
This 100 square kilometers enclave at the outskirts of Damascus shelters around 400,000 civilians and has been under siege since 2013 with shortages of food, water, medication and electricity. Official aid convoys from the United Nations and International Committee of the Red Cross are rarely allowed in.
The recent bombardments are said to be one of the most intense since the beginning of the war. We cannot turn a blind eye and ignore the plight of all civilians that are trapped both from the inside and the outside. International Humanitarian Law should be respected and upheld by all sides no matter what our political affiliations are.
Let us pray that the different belligerents may have restraint, compassion and mercy.
In the midst of that terrible reality, Christian churches, including our Baptist communities, are continuing their witness and showing courage in reaching out with the love of Christ to all in need. A recent article on the Open Doors website quoted another voice from Syria itself:
The Lord is opening new doors for ministry. New communities are coming to know Christ—new people are finding hope only in Jesus. When we see the hand of God reaching out and changing lives, that keeps us going. The Lord is enabling the Church to reach out with peace, love and forgiveness.
He is using His Church here to be a blessing to the community and to touch their needs, and to really bring the only hope the Church can give—the hope of the living Jesus Christ.
These 'Easter people in a Good Friday world’ are indeed demonstrating the power of the Cross and hope of the the Resurrection.
Christ is Risen! Alleluia!