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Home Opinion EASTER 2022 MESSAGE BY THE MOST REVEREND BANNIE EBENEZER F. MANGA, PRESIDING...

EASTER 2022 MESSAGE BY THE MOST REVEREND BANNIE EBENEZER F. MANGA, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE GAMBIA, THE METHODIST CHURCH THE GAMBIA

The Gospel of John chapter 20 verse 1 to 18 records

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
Amen.

To be assured by a loved one that it is well, is and can be very reassuring. The reassurances can be premised on the fact that you are encouraged by someone who loves you and thus would tell you the truth on the given matter.

In the context of the Gospel of John chapter 20: 1 – 18, we find that Mary was devastated that she couldn’t find the body of her Lord, Master and King. She was devastated that Jesus’ body could have been stolen. She was devastated that the evil people could still be continuing with the plot and schemes against Jesus and his ministry. She was devastated that her hope seemingly were dashed and scattered.

In the midst of this reality, Jesus appeared to her and called her by name. She was remembered by her Lord and Master. Jesus called her and immediately reset her thinking pattern. She was given life again. Her devastations were transformed into a day of joy and am sure she was beaming with hope and life.

In the resurrection of Jesus that we celebrate in this Easter events, Jesus comes to restore hope, life and joy. Jesus comes to reset our thoughts so that they can be aligned with the will and purposes of God. Jesus comes to give us a new start to life and restore our relationship with God.

Friends it is true to establish that there are lot of things that need to be reset in our lives, our families, our community, and our nations. We are at a point where relationships with each other appear not to be at its best. We are at a point where we have been divided by political differences and aspirations. We are at a point where the best of what we can be in The Gambia is yet to be realized. We could point fingers to others as being responsible and kindling our predicaments. We could see others as catalyst to our situations and plight.

Yet we can reset the button to take responsibility for our own actions and destiny. We can reset our lives to align with the purposes of God for humanity. We can be a transformed people in God by his enabling. We can love again. We can forgive again, we can be truly humane again. We can be the definitions of Humanity and participate with God in making this world a better place for all. We can be God’s instrument in creation. We can fulfill the will of God.

How do we do this? We can decide to be deliberate in our actions. First we must reconsider our relationship with Jesus the Christ. 2 Corinthians 5: 21 says God made him who know no sin to become sin for us so that in HIM- Jesus the Christ, we will become the righteousness of God. It is implied therefore that our standing in God must be premised in Jesus Christ who says he is the Way, the Truth and the Life John 14: 6.

Second, we must be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Romans 12 : 2 encourages us with these words –‘ Do not be conformed to the ages, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that that you may discern what is good, pleasing and perfect will of God. This text speaks to us as a nation, community and individuals in an era where selfishness, greed and a very sad reality called abuse is seemingly abounding. We are in an era where domestic abuse – be it physical, psychological or contextual is abounding. Where is the love of neighbor as ourselves? Where is the respect for ourselves and our elders? Where is the respect for women? Our society needs a reset. We got to be a community of Love, respect and integrity. We got to respect the dignity of all irrespective of their gender and social status. We got to set an example for the present and future generation that we can be a dignified community where diversity is valued and upheld. We can define our religiousness in our actions. For we do not want to be a people who appear to have some form of religiousness but our actions deny the same. WE NEED A RESET.

In resetting the button for our life’s, community and nation, it is about time we decide to work in the ethics that we all know to be best in the interest of all. We must seek the greater good of the other and serve to the best of our abilities. If we all decide to work together, serve each other, and seek for the best interest of the whole, our nation, communities, families and our very lives will blossom into the very best that we can be, under God.

So in this Easter Season, we are encouraged to reset the button. We are reminded that we can do it in Jesus the Christ. We can have a transformed life in Jesus the resurrected Christ.

On behalf of the Methodist family in The Gambia, I pray a transformed life for all especially in this Easter Season. We pray that the love of God will touch you and you will be a blessing as much as being Blessed in Jesus Name.

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