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President’s Easter message

Two long-sworn enemies sat down together last week and promised to work together. To see Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams sitting just a metre apart, and agreeing they could together form a joint government in Northern Ireland, was to witness a near-miracle.

It’s nine years since the Good Friday agreement was signed by the warring parties of Northern Ireland and approved by referendum. Now that agreement, after much wrangling, is finally bearing fruit.

Easter is a most fitting time for peace to shine through. Christians believe the life, death and resurrection of Jesus brings us peace with God and, through commitment to the peaceful vulnerable courageous way of Jesus, gives us the opportunity of peace with each other, across all our human divisions.

Jesus lived in absolute goodness and love. And people couldn’t stand it – he was opposed, arrested and executed. His resurrection to new life three days later shows the victory of love. If only humankind would learn it and live it.

This Easter I’ll be particularly praying for the peace of Jerusalem. Right now appears to be the best chance in years for progress towards peace for Israel and Palestine. May the leaders and people of the Holy Land learn from the leaders and people of Northern Ireland. And may God bless us all with peace this Easter season.

Gregor Henderson is the President of the Uniting Church in Australia