#41 イースターのお話し Easter
Rev: Nobuyuki Sakakibara 榊原宣行
Easter is April 9. You see colorful eggs and rabbit products in grocery and other stores.
Even if you do not go to church, you probably know that this is the season for it. Recently, Easter is celebrated in Japan as well, but many people may think it is simply a Western event without knowing what it is a celebration of. Easter is the day to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ died on the cross, but was resurrected on the third day. Easter is the day that turns sorrow into joy, despair into hope. That is why we rejoice, give thanks, and celebrate this day.
Three years ago, when the new Coronavirus spread throughout the world, various facilities in our area were sealed off, masks were mandatory, and people disappeared from the streets. Christian churches also followed the government's instructions and were not able to hold services in their churches for several months. Yes, we celebrated Easter three years ago in the midst of church closures, so none of the churches were able to have Easter services. I am a pastor, so even though the service was cancelled, I still came to church every day to pray for healing in the area. No one but me was supposed to come to the church, but there was always someone standing or kneeling in front of the closed church gate every day to offer prayers. They were not church members, but neighbors. Our church is a Japanese-American church, but the people praying at the gate were Americans, Mexicans, Koreans, or whatever the neighbors were, they would come and pray in turn. Our church is Protestant, but there were also people from the Catholic Church who cut their crosses and prayed.
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?"(John 11:25)
Easter is a time to look up to hope. Christ died on the cross, but it was not the end. It is Easter that transforms despair into hope, sorrow into joy, and cries of lamentation into grace of praise. When it comes to the Corona disaster, all is not yet normal. There have been wars and natural disasters during this time, and there have been many changes in the world.It is often said in Japan that "No one knows what the future holds." and that may well be true. But please know that there is hope here. When we look up to the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, hope, joy, love, and grace arise.