Page 4 - Moravian Messenger April 2020
P. 4

Ultimate Questions continued
that there is no such thing as truth. Pilate could not recognise that the real truth about the meaning and purpose of life stood before him, not as a set of abstract propositions, but as a way of life embodied in the person of Jesus.
We can sense that Pilate was instinctively aware of the integrity and innocence of Jesus. So, he addressed his next question to the mob. 'Who will you have me set free; Jesus or Barabbas?' He was banking on the common sense of the people to get him off the hook. Surely, they would not choose the convicted murderer and rioter, Barabbas?
How wrong could he be? The mob chose Barabbas. Pilate floundered. Instead of using his authority to make a decision, he demanded a further answer from the crowd. 'What then shall I do with this Jesus?' The response came back as of one voice: 'Crucify him!' That further shook and confounded him. So, he tried again with another question to the crowd, 'Why, what evil has he done?' The answer was an even louder shout for the death penalty. Pilate gave in. In a feeble and cowardly act to clear himself of blame, he washed his hands openly before the crowd.
This was not the first nor the last time in history when the mob has preferred evil to good, when it is made to feel insecure by tyrants and dictators appealing to the emotions under the guise of appealing to reason. Truth and justice are swept aside. We have to ask what witness we would be prepared to give in a situation where we honestly believed that the majority opinion was wrong on some vitally important question of ethics or political or social action.
As the day of crucifixion drew to its end, Pilate asked his last question when friends of Jesus came seeking permission to remove and bury the body of their Lord. In Mark's Gospel, we read that Pilate asked, 'is he dead?' He required word from the centurion in charge of the crucifixion; he wanted to be sure that the whole affair was over. Little did he know, it had only just begun!!
Pilate's last question, 'is he dead?', is the most important one for the Church and for the world. Posed on the first Good Friday in relation to the crucifixion, the same question has been asked throughout the subsequent two thousand years by the world in relation to the empty tomb. Did the resurrection really take place, or is Jesus dead?
As the apostle Paul puts it, '... if Christ has not been raised from death, then we have nothing to preach and you have nothing to believe ...' (1 Corinthians 15:14).
Easter is at the centre of the life of the Church. There is nothing more important to the Christian than the sacrificial death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Without these historical events, the Christian faith is worthless. The events of that first Easter weekend continue to be the power, hope, joy and peace of the Christian life.
His way is life; the world's way is death. We can now stand before the world's false realities and securities, free to deny them, denounce them, and remove ourselves from them. We stand before the reality of the resurrection and confess with the first disciples that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
Paul knew from experience that the most vital proof of the Resurrection is not so much the empty tomb, but the transformed lives of those who experience the Risen Lord. And it is still so. The Church is and must continue to be the Church of the Resurrection in order to give the world the true answer to
its ultimate questions about death and about
On Easter Sunday, we hear the cry: 'The Lord is risen!' And we must continue to respond in faith and with conviction, 'He is risen indeed'.
Br David Newman
Irish District Youth Weekend 2019
Once again the annual Irish District Youth Weekend was hosted at the end of October in Gracehill and the theme centred around One World Week encouraging our young people to look after our world and all those in it.
Friday night consisted of 'getting to know you' games and snacks and a few rounds of werewolf provided by Gracehill's own Owen Johnston. When it was dark
everyone played outdoor games.
Saturday started off with a walk to Galgorm to raid the local shop for tuck and then play football on the playing fields. When back at Gracehill the group got stuck into a fair-trade game. This game revolves around families making trainers and is designed to help young people experience what it is like to make a product in an unfair world. In the afternoon there was a
Bible Study led by Br Peter Dunn. This focused on the theme for the weekend.
Later Sr Debby Armstrong had everyone making homemade baubles and decorating wooden spoons and Sr Hannah Carmichael got folk doing some baking. After dinner Br Stuart Walker from Kilwarlin joined the group and brought renewed energy to the evenings' games around the village.
Sunday morning included Morning Worship. The young people took part in the first section of the service with a modern day twist on the Genesis 1 creation account noting that climate change affects everything, a power point recalled the best bits from the weekend and also included some prayers written by the young people. It was lovely to share the service with the Gracehill congregation. After the morning worship the young people joined together for burgers and chips. The youth weekend was a great success and thanks go to all the young people
who attended and to
everyone who came
to help out or
provided support.
Sr Debbie Armstrong Gracehill
© Sr Sarah Groves

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