Area pastors share message of hope from Easter after a challenging year

Pastors of several Tempe and West Chandler churches to share their Easter messages. — Michael Bumann photo

Easter is one of the most important days of the year in the faith-based community. Wranglernews.com asked the pastors of several Tempe and West Chandler  churches to share their Easter messages with our readers.

Anthony Whitlatch, Pastor of Discipleship, First Baptist Church of Tempe

Easter celebrates one of Jesus’ primary purposes on earth: to bring anyone who believes out of the darkness of rebellion, of perishing, of the wrath of God, and of sin. The incarnate, eternally existent, messiah, son of God who died on a tree and resurrected from the dead on Easter Sunday is the only hope for humanity.

Anthony Whitlatch

Since Jesus came down from heaven, the second member of the trinity, He was able to live a perfect life on earth. Since He lived a perfect life and still died a sinner’s death, He was able to offer Himself as a sacrifice for the world, once for all time.

As we believe, we celebrate Easter together, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, because we have been pulled out of the darkness. There is no guilt in life and no fear in death because Jesus Christ raised from the dead and so shall we. This good news is without partiality. No one is worthy to receive this salvation, yet it is offered to all without partiality.

Let us never forget where hope is found in this life and after death. The only hope for humanity is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Let us glorify Jesus Christ together this year. He is our eternal hope.

Rev. Jeff Procter-Murphy, Dayspring United Methodist Church

I wonder if the pandemic has raised any theological questions for you. Why is this happening? What have we done to deserve this? Is the pandemic God’s punishment? Is God testing us or trying to teach us something?

Jeff Procter-Murphy

How we respond to such questions depends on our understanding of the nature and character of the divine. If God is seen as an omnipotent superpower, then I suppose you might believe God is somehow responsible for the pandemic. If God is retributive, then I suppose one could understand this pandemic to be a lesson or even a punishment. Is there another way to understand the divine?

I believe that in his life and teachings Jesus expressed the nature and character of God. His love and compassion, his struggle for justice – these are God’s values. Jesus taught that God isn’t responsible for evil; bad things happen – often without explanation. Jesus invites us to see the divine as the power of love that doesn’t exist apart from the world, but who is the One who suffers with and comforts the afflicted and invites us into creative collaboration to help repair the world. In the crucifixion, we see God as the “fellow sufferer who understands” and in the resurrection, we discover that death doesn’t have the last word. Our Easter hope is in a God who cares for all of creation, whose love knows no bounds. In the words of Paul, “Nothing, not even death, can separate us from the love of God.”

Pastor Bill Meiter, Arizona Community Church

Easter is the ultimate reminder that no matter how many skeletons we might have in our closet…God will forgive all who turn to His Son with a repentant heart!

Bill Meiter

So often, people think that they have made too many mistakes, and committed too many sins, to be forgiven by God…but that couldn’t be any further from the truth!

As a matter of fact, God is so rich in love and mercy toward those with skeletons in their closet…that He sent His only and sinless Son, Jesus, into the world to die on the cross in order to take the punishment that we all deserve for our sins. So our forgiveness came at a price… but it’s a price that Christ Jesus paid in full!

This is exactly why the death and resurrection of Christ is called, “Good News.” Because it’s the amazing news about how sinful people can be forgiven and made right in the sight of God! As it says in Romans 8:1, “There is now no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus.”

So what does this mean for you? It means today is the day of salvation! Instead of running from Christ…run to Him! The one who created you…is also the one who died to save you! Trust in Him! Believe in Him!Follow Him!

As Romans 10:9 says… “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Fr. Teilo M. Lwande, AJ, Associate Pastor, St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church

It’s #Easter2021! On a lighter note, I wonder if it is #Easter2021 or #Easter2020. ‘Lol’.

Teilo M. Lwande

Considering we are “winding up” the “anniversary” of “two weeks to flatten the curve,” I am sure #Easter2021 brings many emotions of unfulfilled plans, loss of loved ones, among many others. Boy, what a ride!

Easter is an august season when we celebrate the Paschal Mystery, i.e., the suffering, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven (Mt.16:21–28, Mk.8:31–9:1;Lk.9:22–27). We celebrate the example of perfect love that Jesus set for the world. (Jn.3:16, Phil.2:5-11).

During this season and beyond, let us continue to love one another, listen to each other more, and work together irrespective of age, race, tribe, creed, color, nationality, or social status (Gal.3:28, Phil.2:1-5). But before we do that, we must acknowledge that we have the dignity that comes from none other than God (Gen.1:26-27).

As we celebrate #Easter2021, let us recommit to our faith by renewing our baptismal promises. “Keep holding your candle, and don’t let it burn out.” Guard your light, and it will serve to guide you. It takes humility for each of us to live as Jesus did. It takes courage to re-define our lives for the better, even though this “stuff” is not popular to do even at a young age.

Happy Easter! And as they say it in Swahili, “Heri ya sikukuu ya Pasaka.”

1 COMMENT

  1. The celebration of the pagan fertility god adulterated with the remembrance of Jesus’ selfless sacrifice and the Love that the Almighty God had shown us, is a slap in the face. If anyone would take the time to study the Bible, you know that anyone who celebrates this holidays does not worship the TRUE GOD; and any religious leader that promotes pagan traditions as “pure worship” will experience His wrath. Wake up people. It is easier to fool, then it is to convince be has been fooled. Don’t be fooled.

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