By Rt. Rev'd. Laish Zane Boyd, Sr
Bishop of the Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands
That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They said to them, "The Lord is risen indeed...!'"
Luke 24:33, 34
When two disciples were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus one afternoon, they met the risen Christ. They did not recognize him, even though they walked and talked with him for miles. When they reached their destination, the stranger was about to go on, but the disciples urged him to stay the night because evening was fast approaching. It is only when they sat at the table to break bread that they recognized Jesus. He disappeared and the two men, Cleopas and another, got up immediately and returned to Jerusalem to the eleven apostles and told them, "It is true. The lord is risen indeed..."
There are three things that strike the reader of this account:
- The disciples saw Jesus and did not recognise him.
How often are we guilty of this when we do not see Christ in others and do not see his hand at work in the situations around us?
- The disciples walked with Jesus and did not recognise him.
This was not a fleeting encounter but an extended interaction. Sometimes we are "with" God in very special ways: His power, love, radiance and glory are all around us in people, events and circumstances. Yet we fail to see a God who is walking beside us and talking to us in so many different ways. Why? It is because our focus and our priorities are elsewhere. We therefore miss a divine showing. We miss an epiphany.
- Jesus disappeared as soon as they recognised him in the breaking of the bread.
Is this not how life is? Right in the midst of our greatest moments, we have some of our lowest moments. Just when we find the answers, life changes the questions. Just when we are feeling closest to God, something can happen so easily to make us feel far from him.
The disciples said: "The Lord is risen indeed...!" These words rang out in Jerusalem and throughout the surrounding area. It was a message about God doing something wonderful and unusual for believers and for the world. It was God conquering human sin and physical death through the resurrection from the dead of his son, Jesus Christ. This message is even more timely today.
Let us make this Easter meaningful by seeing the risen Christ in our lives, in our surroundings, in our pains, in our challenges and in our triumphs. Then let us share that message with others, pointing them to see him through our words and actions.
The resurrection message is so important now in our two countries when so many people are under pressure and are experiencing a sense of powerlessness and hopelessness. Issues like crime, feeling unsafe in your own home or neighbourhood, unemployment, the economy, political uncertainty in the face of upcoming general elections in the Bahamas, the constitutional and governance concerns in the Turks and Caicos Islands, illness, family crises, personal tragedy, a feeling that no one cares or that no one "is checking for me"- these issues present real challenges to so many. In the face of this, the Church needs to present the Gospel and the Risen Christ through our witness.
Christians, let us believe that God is in charge of His world and is present in his world, even in the most difficult of circumstances. He is there and is with us even when we feel that he is absent or far away. God is present in the hope that he brings, in the strength that we have to survive and to persevere. When we are at our weakest or feel that we cannot make it any more, remember that that is when He is actually carrying us.
Even though we may be struggling, we cannot rely on how we feel because faith is not a feeling but a knowledge: we know that God is real; we know that Jesus is alive and we know that God will never forsake us. We are forced to live this faith and to put into practice what we claim to believe. Let us lay hold on our hope and our faith in a living Saviour, and then let us live that hope as if it were our all in all.
There is someone out there who will not see Christ unless they see him in you or in me. Therefore let us do our best, with the help of the almighty, to reach out, to be an example, to show love and to support others because no one of us is an island. we need each other. The risen Christ is counting on you and on me, and I know that we are counting on him.
I greet my Anglican family in this diocese and join with them in wishing a Happy Easter to all in the Turks and Caicos Islands and in the Bahamas.
The Lord Christ is risen indeed. Come let us adore him. Alleluia.