As God’s family we enter into this Easter season aware of the immense turmoil in every corner the world today, and in our very hearts. For many of us the last year has been one of the most challenging years in our memory and in some way each of us have experienced the reality of grief. Yet we must remember that Jesus was no stranger to grief.

Michael Oh, Lausanne’s global executive director and CEO, invites us to consider our grief in light of the grief that Jesus and his disciples faced in the days around his death. At the cross our grief was recognised, relieved, and redeemed. This Easter 2021, may you share in the peace of Christ, knowing that in Him, our grief becomes the path to joy.

Transcript of the video message

Beloved brothers and sisters,

I greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ who is making for Himself a family of every tribe, language, people, and nation.  We are that family. And as a family we are called to pray together, stand together, hope together, worship together, rejoice together, and even grieve together.

One year ago, as we were just entering into this global pandemic and were facing so much uncertainty, my Easter encouragement to you all was about the power of hope, the person who is our hope, and the mission of hope.

And as expected and feared, the months between that Easter and this, was filled with much grief: Grief from millions of lives lost, millions of families devastated, millions of jobs lost, and millions more whose suffering will never be seen or known or calculated or pitied or avenged except by the God whose name is Justice.

And beyond the feared but anticipated grief, we have been heavy-hearted over the fomentation of hatred and the alarming increase in hate crimes in our world, the resurgence of political oppression, the more and more open and brazen celebration of godlessness and wickedness, and the heart-breaking scandals within the church.

And our grief in these days mirror the grief of the days leading up to that very first Easter.

The disciples were grieved as Jesus spoke of his coming death and departure. They were grieved to hear that they would be complicit in their own denials and abandonment. And they heard and saw Christ whose grief was “even to the point of death” (Mark 14:34) and caused him to weep and weep bitterly.

So I wonder what grieves you today?  What personal or family or national or global burdens weigh too heavily on your shoulders?  What causes you to weep, and weep bitterly?

For Easter 2021 may we remember the grief of the days leading up to the very first Easter. A grief recognized on the cross.  A grief relieved at the cross.  A grief redeemed on the cross. And a grief that empowered the mission that flowed from the cross.

Jesus told the disciples that they would indeed grieve. And grief is not only a part of life as sinners in a fallen world, but grief is also the path we walk toward joy.

Jesus said to the disciples and says to us, “your grief will turn to joy.”

And he tells us why in John 16:33 –

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Jesus rescues us not from grief but through it.  Not apart from it but by grief is the good news known and made known.

The grief of betrayal, loss, suffering and sin – no different from the grief of Christ’s first disciples than for us, His disciples today.

The enduring and persevering and overcoming joy is ours today as well.

As is our on-going calling and mission to share His peace, to show His love, and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ risen from the dead, victorious over sin, and transformer of grief into joy.

Happy Easter friends.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Michael Oh serves as the Global Executive Director / CEO of the Lausanne Movement. Michael and his family served as missionaries in Nagoya, Japan, from 2004 to 2016. There he founded a ministry called Christ Bible Institute (CBI), which includes Christ Bible Seminary, the Heart & Soul Cafe, and a church-planting ministry.

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