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Easter Message from the Moderator

Easter brings together two apparently opposing human experiences; painful suffering and death followed by glorious new life and joy.

On Good Friday we recall the unjust treatment and crucifixion of a compassionate and loving man, whom Christians believe was the incarnation of God. Christians believe that when Jesus died on the cross he entered fully into the human experience of suffering and sin and took upon himself the brokenness of the world. In Jesus’ death he offered forgiveness to all.

In Jesus’ resurrection we celebrate God’s power over sin and death and his desire to bring new life. Christians believe that despite all suffering and pain, God continues to be faithful and wants to give hope and new life. Therefore Easter Day is a time of rejoicing in the one who brings us through death to life.

Many within Australia and across the world know pain and suffering first hand. Those whose lives have been devastated by the floods in the north, the fires in the south or the financial crisis have cried out with Jesus, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” We are called to help such people know that God who raised Jesus to life can bring hope and a new beginning in their experiences as well.

The shops full of Easter eggs and Easter Bunnies remind us of the resurrection of Jesus and the new life that Christians proclaim is available to all through Jesus Christ. However,  the very way in which the raw product of these Easter delights is obtained can contribute to the suffering of hundreds of thousands of children. World Vision reports “About 70% of the cocoa beans used to make chocolate around the world come from West Africa, with Ivory Coast and Ghana among the biggest producers.” Much of this product is harvested by child labour working in slave-like conditions. So the work of bringing new life is not just a local issue.

Our desire to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus is tarnished by this disturbing information.

There is however a better way. The “Don’t Trade Lives” campaign has worked hard to invite our chocolate manufacturers to ensure that all of their products are produced ethically. We can take the effort to seek out Fairtrade chocolate this Easter. However,  since these products are not yet widely available you might choose to support World Vision’s attempts to put pressure on the large chocolate manufacturers to source their products from ethically responsible sources. Just go to donttradelives.com to participate.

I would encourage all who celebrate Easter this year to take time to remember those who can’t yet rejoice in new life. Pray for them and do whatever you can to help the resurrection of Jesus become a reality for all people.

May you have a holy and blessed Easter Season.

Rev Bruce Johnson