Easter is a story of unimaginable sacrifice and with it, life-transforming hope.
As we celebrate Easter and remember the death and resurrection of Jesus, I’m reminded of the many challenges we face in our world today – and why in the midst of it all, we all need hope.
We continue to live in a world of uncertainty. We’ve stared down the pandemic and survived fire, drought, and floods. The war in Ukraine continues to exact a terrible toll, while tensions in our own Asia-Pacific region are on the rise. The devastating impacts of climate change are becoming all too real, while our global economy seems to be riding a roller-coaster of uncertainty.
As the cost-of-living crisis bites and the cost of housing skyrockets, it has become increasingly difficult for people to make ends meet. Financial hardship is on the increase, with millions of Australians living in poverty.
Many are struggling to pay for necessities like food, clothing, gas, electricity, fuel, and water. The cost of food alone has skyrocketed this past year.
For some families, it’s a case of making changes to lifestyle, and eating habits or too often going hungry just to keep a roof over their heads. With the acute lack of affordable housing, it’s a perfect storm.
Increasing numbers of people are coming to Wesley Mission for Emergency Relief, Financial Counselling, Homelessness services and Community Housing.
Across our community services, we’re seeing people making impossible choices and taking greater risks – making agonising choices like whether to keep their insurance, drive on bald tyres, buy medication or pay the utilities. Driven by desperation, some play the pokies trying to win the rent, pay the mortgage or feed their kids.
In a world marked by doubt, despair and darkness, Easter hope offers the promise of a better future, a future in God’s hands, a future shaped by the light of an empty tomb.
Easter hope isn’t just content with ‘me’ and ‘mine’ but is a hope that should be shared. Easter hope – grounded in Jesus’ sacrificial love and his death-conquering resurrection, can cultivate in us empathy and compassion for our neighbours – to see their needs, extend our resources and time to meet them – to offer genuine friendship and connection.
Gathering friends and family for an Easter feast, whatever that looks like for you, can be a wonderful way to celebrate this special holiday.
Will you take up the opportunity to extend your table and hospitality to invite someone to share a meal, to share in a simple offer of connection and hope?
By giving and receiving hope, we share and celebrate our common humanity, where we’re all valuable, and we realise we’re all inextricably linked. Every person we meet bears the fingerprints of God and is of inestimable worth.
The high cost of living and the housing crisis are issues our society cannot ignore. We must do everything we can to help those who are struggling and to advocate for change to address the inequity and injustice that are the root causes of these problems.
As we reflect on the message of Easter, let us remember Jesus Christ came to bring hope and salvation to all people, especially those who are suffering. He met people where they were, he dined with the most unlikely, everyday people often at the margins – the forgotten and forsaken and the overlooked. He was dismissed by the elite as a ‘friend of sinners’, a friend to outcasts, the marginalised. Everyone was welcome at Jesus’ table. So am I, and so are you.
Let us follow Jesus’ example by reaching out to those in need, working for justice and peace, and sharing God’s love with everyone we meet.
May God bless you and your loved ones this Easter and always.
Download broadcast video and audio versions of 2023 Easter Message:
Rev Stu Cameron is available for interview.
Wesley Mission provides practical care and support for more than 130,000 people annually in NSW and across Australia, including help for people experiencing homelessness, local community action groups preventing suicide, and gambling and financial counselling among more than 120 programs. wesleymission.org.au