Easter 2024 – messages from Church Leaders


Easter Messages 2024 from Victorian Church Leaders
(if you can suggest others, please email vcc@vcc.org.au)

More messages from National Church Leaders here (NCCA compilation)

Archbishop Peter Comensoli, Catholic Diocese of Melbourne

Churches of Christ in Australia
Why the Resurrection Matters
Easter remains the Christian Church’s most important celebration, but why is Christ’s resurrection necessary for human redemption, and why does he assert that he is the only path to God?
Our greatest pitfall is that every one of us is born into sin, a state of separation from God (and not the accumulation of wrongdoing). This inevitably imperils our future beyond death. Our greatest opportunity is to be rescued from this sin for the greatest possible joy in this life and the next.
The Bible speaks of two possible destinations which are both eternal. Entry into either depends on what we do with the gift of Jesus.
This is a challenge in an age of scepticism, yet the harmony of the biblical text, its archaeological support, and its transformation of countless lives still attest to the Bible’s truth claims.
A perfectly just God must judge any sin perfectly, so its presence precludes any capacity to earn Heaven. A perfectly loving God has provided the solution to our escape.
By sending his Son who was fully divine, he sent us a Saviour who was free from sin. Therefore, Jesus qualified to bear ours. He was also fully human and capable of taking our place.
Faith in this reality is inclusive of Jesus’ resurrection conquering death’s power over him and us. This must be believed and confessed individually. Through it, we access God’s salvation gift, being deemed a righteous new creation capable of living free from guilt, shame, addiction, worry, or oppression.
Jesus has therefore become the mediator who draws believers back to their maker. He is the source of a life of freedom and breakthrough that we can never have without him.
This makes every day an Easter celebration of life with Christ who, in being our Saviour who frees us from eternal death, therefore also becomes our Lord. That this applies only to those who receive and walk with him reminds us that we are afforded a choice as to how we will live and where we will ultimately reside.
And eternity is such a long time!
Dr. Rob Nyhuis – National Chair,
Churches of Christ Council in Australia

Rev Sharon Hollis, President, Uniting Church in Australia

Coptic Orthodox Church
Diocese of Melbourne and Affiliated Regions
Resurrection Message
The resurrection of Christ provided man with many solutions to many problems, including:
1 – The resurrection solved the problem of death.
Death was terrifying, and it was the greatest and last enemy of man, because it simply leads to the unknown, that is, it leads to hell. But when the Lord Christ rose from death, he abolished the effect of death and solved the problem of death.
St. Paul summarizes our Christian belief in the resurrection in Paul’s chapter on Easter (1 Cor. 15) and says: “If Christ has not been raised, then your faith is in vain, you are still in your sins. Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ also perished, if in this life we have only hope in Christ, then we are the most miserable of all people.” Therefore, death is no longer the end of life, but the beginning of a new happy life. Death is no longer for us after the resurrection of Christ a frightening and sad event.
2 – The resurrection solved the problem of despair.
The resurrection of Christ gave us hope in a life after death. The resurrection of Christ gave our life and our struggle a purpose and meaning. St. Paul expresses the tongue of those who do not believe in the resurrection, saying: “If the dead do not rise. So, we eat and drink, because tomorrow we die.”(1 Corinthians 15:32).
Despair is the opposite of faith and faith is the opposite of despair. Belief in Christ and in the resurrection nullifies despair. Because faith is “confidence in what is hoped for and conviction in things not seen” (Hebrews 11:10).
So, the resurrection of Christ solved the problem of despair and gave us hope.
Hope is a confident waiting for the fulfilment of God’s promises, no matter how dims the darkness is hope is Absolute trust in God’s promises.
Hope is Perseverance in the search for the open door, no matter how many closed doors.
Hope is an unshakable certainty that God has a thousand keys to a closed door.
Hope is Waiting for the arrival of spring no matter how long and intensified the winter cold.
Hope is Absolute confidence in all the effects of the cross and the resurrection, no matter what my sin was.
3 – The resurrection solved the problem of pain.
The pain before the resurrection of Christ was the problem of problems, this is the problem of Job and his friends. Pain in their eyes was equal to sin, as long as God allowed you to suffer, then you are a sinner and our Lord is mad at you, and this was tearing Job because he knows that God is just, and he testified to the righteousness of Job. The view of the martyrs about pain is completely different from the view of Job and all the men of the Old Testament, and the reason is simply the resurrection of Christ. We find the martyrs endured pain, but rather rejoiced because of the belief in the resurrection of Christ. It is written about them “They were tormented, and did not accept deliverance, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection” (Heb 11:35). Pain has a goal, a message, an end, and a limit. It will end with the end of our life on earth.
Saint Anthony says:
We must not fear death, but fear the destruction of the soul, which is the lack of knowledge of God. This is the terrifying death.
Rev Dr Fr Abanoub,
Coptic Orthodox Church – Diocese of Melbourne & Affiliated Regions

Rev David Fotheringham, Moderator, Uniting Church in Australia, Vic/Tas Synod

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
On Wednesday 14th Feb, I walked a little of the “Gaza Pilgrimage” in Melbourne. This was an opportunity for people of faith to come together by walking a distance roughly equivalent to the distance from Gaza City to Rafah. The idea was to pray for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and to raise awareness about the plight of Palestinians facing relentless attacks from the Israeli Defence Forces. We prayed and sang in a variety of places of worship and shared stories of Palestine.
For me it was refreshing and uplifting to meet people from other denominations, united by concern for the innocent victims of war. We were a diverse group but had a commitment to non-violence and a sense of hope that a just peace might still be possible, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.
The Easter story asks us to hold onto that same hope for a better world, even when there’s no certainty that change is possible. It asserts that life goes on even after the worst possible things have happened and that love can overcome hatred or fear.
Small miracles of kindness, forgiveness, and reconciliation happen every day. The life of Jesus invites us to notice and support these small miracles. We are called to help build peace in whatever ways we can.
Bruce Henry, Presiding Clerk
Religious Society of Friends in Australia (Quakers)

Salvation Army Commissioner Miriam Gluyas

Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem Easter 2024 here