Opinion

Total love that is so self sacrificing

By Riverine Herald

Epicentre Church

Rob Wiltshire

Easter service times:

Nothing Good Friday

Easter Sunday — 10.30am

■ How/when did you personally become a Christian and when did the Easter story first become real for you?

Growing up in a Christian home makes both these questions difficult to answer, as I have always believed in Jesus and the story of Easter.

So perhaps for me another way of framing the question would be; “When did Jesus and the story of Easter move from a story to an example of the way I live?”

If I was to answer it from that perspective, I would have been around the age of 19 when this started happening. I was already a Christian, but my life at that point didn’t reflect the example Jesus demonstrated for us through the cross at Easter. For example, dying to our selfish desires, for the betterment of others. And if I’m honest, I am very much still on the journey of seeing that example become daily, the way I live.

■ What would you say to people who are sceptical of the Easter story – those who say it sounds unbelievable?

I would say I completely understand why you would be. Someone coming back from the dead, after being dead for three days, and before medical science, that is a justifiable reason to be sceptical!

Without anyone taking this next statement literally, what I would ask someone who was sceptical would be: If you followed Jesus’ example in your own personal life, how would that impact the people around you? Not meaning you literally die, but figuratively die, to your wants and desires, in order to give the people around you theirs. How would that change your relationships, your marriage, your workplace, etc. And if everyone was to do this, how would it change the community around us? For the better or the worse?

■ How does your church observe Easter? Has this changed much over the years you have been involved as a minister of your church?

Easter Sunday at Epicentre Church has remained somewhat the same for the last few years. We gather for a service, share communion, followed by an Easter Egg hunt for the kids, and a barbecue lunch for all.

This year we are changing it up slightly. Throughout the month of April, we are focusing on the story or Easter and its practical relevance in our everyday lives, through a series called ‘Happy Ever After’.

The series will look at how we can live through the turmoil of life with a sense of joy, happiness and peace.

■Is the message being diluted, even lost, in the commercial white noise around record chocolate sales?

The short answer is, “yes.”

We are missing the point of what the Easter celebration is about. It has nothing to do with hot-cross buns or eggs — but rather, everything to do with one man, Jesus, demonstrating to us perfect love.

That being said, I have nothing against chocolate and hot-cross buns being a part of our Easter tradition — as they taste good. But among all the yummy stuff, I believe we need to keep the message of Easter the same. A demonstration of a self-sacrificing for the betterment of others we love.

While hot-cross buns and chocolate taste good they both fall short in demonstrating of the significance of Easter. Jesus, dying on the cross for humanity on the other hand, I believe perfectly demonstrates and depicts what Easter has always been about.

■ If you could talk to everyone in town, what would be the single most important message you would like to share with them?

With all the anger and hate that seems to be making headlines around the world, the only thing offering humanity hope is the self-sacrificing example of Easter.

Like in the previous question regarding sceptics; I can understand why people don’t believe the story of Jesus. And with the horrendous things so-called Christians have done in the name of God and Christianity, I understand why people are anti-Christianity.

But if you could for a moment, push that aside, and consider what the world around us could look like if we allowed the teachings of Jesus to impact our lives.

How could it change for the better the people around us?

How could it change for the better the community around us?

How could it change for the better the world around us?

That’s the story of Jesus, of God, of Easter. A love that’s self-sacrificing for the betterment of others.