3 APRIL 2015
HOPE – THE GREAT GIFT OF EASTER
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
~ 1 Peter 1:3-5
Every Easter, the hills of Long Semadoh resound with the celebration of the greatest event that is observed by Christians. I remember the days when I was growing up in the idyllic villages, when preparations would begin early for the Easter celebrations. Thousands of members of the Borneo Evangelical Church / Sidang Injil Borneo from all over the state would congregate at one designated place for a celebration called the Irau Easter, that would last a few days. Big tents, called Sedayans, would be erected to house the people from various villages, and speakers were invited from neighbouring areas, such as Indonesia, to speak at the Irau. This practice started from the days when the church was formed and lasted until the 70s. Later, it was decided that the celebrations would be held in a few places, so that people would not have to travel such long distances.
Easter is celebrated in such a large scale because it is the most significant event in the Christian calendar besides Christmas. The events that mark Easter are the very events that form the foundation of the Christian faith - the death and resurrection of Jesus. These are the events upon which the hope that Christians share, are found. Easter reminds us that no matter how dire the situation we find ourselves in, we must not give up on hope.
It cannot be denied that Malaysians currently find themselves in really the most challenging times yet. Our country appears to be in deep financial trouble and nobody is being held accountable for the numerous financial scandals that are dragging our country deeper into debt. Malaysians are deeply worried about effect of the impending GST on their already stretched incomes. The terrorist organization ISIS is recruiting Malaysians to join their violent campaigns. The Prime Minister does not seem to be aware of the unhappiness of the rakyat; instead we are treated to tales of the extravagant lifestyles of his family. In Sarawak our people do not see any discernable improvement in their lives and in the rural areas, many families are also worried about the social ills plaguing their communities such as drug and alcohol abuse and illegal gambling.
Easter reminds us that there is hope and that we have the power to change. Most of the problems we face arise from selfishness – the selfish actions of those who abuse their authority in order to enrich themselves. Those who wish to make change happen must realize that the people have to get out of their insular lives and come together to effect change. Let us not hope passively. If we collectively harness this power that we have to change, then wonderful things can happen – unity is strength. We should make an effort to be involved in community activities, join special interest groups, NGOs and political parties that speak up for for truth and justice. It does our society no good if we take no interest in the governance of our country. Our responsibility to our country and the future generations requires us to be involved, and this way, we have reason to hope for better times.
I wish all Christians a blessed Easter.
ADUN N70 Ba’ Kelalan
~ Behold they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. [Genesis 11:6] ~