- Rev Dr KEITH GARNER
There is no other time on the Christian calendar that is more relevant, powerful and moving than Easter. It is a significant period when we take stock of our lives and the collective life of the nation.
My theme at Wesley Mission this Easter, as always, focuses upon the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I am gathering my thoughts around the theme of 'Broken Made New'.
NEW LIFE: Rev Dr Keith Garner says the message of Easter is that through Jesus Christ we have the opportunity to be remade. PICTURE: Alex Ringer/www.freeimages.com
"The message of Easter...is that through our experience of brokenness we all have the opportunity to be made new through the generous love of Jesus Christ. He calls us to cast off self-interest and to love others whatever their situation."
As we look out across our country and the world, we see fear and instability, the shadow of terrorism, and a lack of certainty and hope. Across the globe, political leaders fail to provide an enduring narrative which people can embrace and cling to in perplexing times. Truth is discarded or ambushed in the clutter of social media as our politicians play the political ball at their feet.
The world is disjointed and frenetic: we are experiencing one of the biggest refugee crises in living memory. Barriers are erected to the marginalised and stateless. Governments have replaced talk of closer cooperation with barbed wire, and walls of intransigence, not only built on our borders, but in our hearts. The dark and ugly side of nationalism casts a shadow over the world.
It also seems like our political and economic systems are broken and beyond reform. As governments do less, it is those who can least can afford it that carry the burden.
Change is all-consuming in every aspect of our lives. Sadly the most important and confronting truth is that far too many people are being left behind and rejected.
The all-pervasive culture of looking after number one in the marketplace now consumes so much of our private lives that we no longer see ourselves as citizens or families but consumers who are measured not by the quality of relationships or a contribution to the community but by our usefulness as consumers who contribute economically.
This is the same ideological stick with which we measure people and then berate them when they lose their job, get sick, grow old or cannot cope in mainstream life because of mental illness or relationship breakdown.
Sadly, brokenness not wholeness marks the experience of a growing number of Australians. This is one reason why Easter is increasingly important.
At Wesley Mission we deal with broken lives every day: loneliness, isolation, mental health issues, homelessness, poverty and relationship conflict can drive people over the edge and into despair.
Walk around the streets of any city or town and you will find damaged goods piled on the footpath for council pick up. Anything that is broken or that is no longer needed is thrown away. We despise what is old or damaged - sadly that is often how we treat people who have been broken by life.
The message of Easter, however, is that through our experience of brokenness we all have the opportunity to be made new through the generous love of Jesus Christ. He calls us to cast off self-interest and to love others whatever their situation.
As you engage with the Easter story and the tremendous hope it brings, may you also gain fresh insight and understanding of what it means to be broken and what it is to be made new through Jesus Christ – there are no walls to his love and no barriers to his understanding or compassion. May you and those you love have a happy and holy Easter.
Rev Dr Keith Garner is the CEO/Superintendent of Sydney-based Wesley Mission. Visit the website for details of Easter services and re-enactments.