Resurrection optimism

Outgoing President Rev Alistair Macrae passes the stole to new President Rev Prof Andrew Dutney during the installation service at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Sunday 15 July 2012

The following is an excerpt of the address Rev Alistair Macrae, Uniting Church President from 2009 to July 2012, delivered to the 13th Assembly on Monday 16 July 2012.

ALONG with the worldwide Christian Church we are in a time of fundamental transition, with all its challenges and opportunities.

We should continue to ask what Christians have asked in every crisis:

What is possible, even in the valley of the shadow of death, in this liminal, uncertain space, for those who trust that the Shepherd God can provide water in the desert, bring hope out of fear, liberation out of paralysis, life out of death?

In the early church, and ever since, believers confronted by massive barriers have recalled the mystery of faith which we intone every time we gather at the table of the Lord: "Christ has died.

Christ is risen. Christ will come again!"

A crack in the wall appears and the light of hope shines through again.

New worlds of possibility open up and fire the hearts, minds and imaginations of believers.

What distinguishes hopefulness from mere optimism is the central Christian claim of resurrection.

We are "prisoners of hope".

Not hope for mere institutional survival but for the ultimate victory of love over hate, peace over violence, hope over despair.

Thank you, Uniting Church, for entrusting me with this role.

Please forgive my mistakes and omissions and any words or actions that have been unworthy of the church or the gospel.

You gave me the privilege of seeing a broad cross-section of this church and I have been blessed with so many glimpses of God's Kingdom, God's new creation, in and through the worship, witness and service of this church.

While we are a flawed church, nevertheless God's grace is so often manifest and I encourage us all to remain committed, faithful and imaginative as we participate with God until that blessed day when the walls of separation will be no more and God of our crucified and risen Lord will make all things new.

A full version of both of these speeches is available at http://goo.gl/2yE0R

Photo : Outgoing President Rev Alistair Macrae passes the stole to new President Rev Prof Andrew Dutney during the installation service at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Sunday 15 July 2012