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Saturday, April 19, 2014

EASTER WISHES FROM BISHOP DR. VARGHESE L. MATHAI

( Respected Bishop Dr. Varghese L. Mathai has a very powerful Easter Message and blessings. Thanks from New World)
Dear Friends & Families:

It is my pleasure to wish you all a happy and triumphant Easter Season !

When we speak of Easter it is not just some trivial rituals or games with eggs and bunnies, but we are remembering and rejoicing at the rising again from the dead of Christ, after his passion, death and burial. We call it the Passion Week. Christ's story did not end with His death. But on the third day He rose up from the dead--to live for ever!

That is why the Angelic proclamation "He is Risen" has become the watchword of Christianity. In the early Church when this was pronounced, Christians responded with joy "He is Risen Indeed." Another word for rising again in is Resurrection. Sadly enough, the name Easter has crept into Christianity after the third century A. D. and the Western Church misnamed Easter for the Celebration of Christ's Resurrection. In fact, Easter or Ishtar is the name of a pagan (Roman) goddess with which true Christianity has nothing to do.

Remember, in the Eastern Church, there was no concept of Easter until very recently. Easter is someting we borrowed from the Western culture. We used to say "Uyarpin Dinam" or Day of Resurrection. Therefore, many Christians even today wish "Happy Resurrection" instead of "Happy Easter."

The litmus test of Christianity is Christ's resurrection. That is the uniqueness of Christ, whereas in no other religion there is a Risen Savior like Jesus. Remember also what Saint Paul, the Apostle said about Christ's resurrection:

" And if Christ is not risen, our preaching is vain and our faith is also vain ... If the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, our faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who fallen asleep (died) in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (died) " (1 Corinthians 15;14-20, NKJV). Thus Christ's resurrection offers us the hope for our own resurrection from the dead, and a hope for the future!

On another occasion, Saint Paul exhorts Christians to be partakers of His suffering in order to be able to partake of the power of His resurrection! In a very real sense, the Lord's Table or the Holy Communion is a symbolic experience of Christ's Suffering and Resurrection. Many millions of believers in the world today enjoy this joy and privilege.

In this connection, let me also say that the Jewish Passover and the Passion Week are integrally related. I have had the privilege of participating in a Passover Seder this week along with about 250 Messianic believers in South Florida. It was a powerful experience of joy and exultation. ( More about Passover later. Please see a scene of the Seder in the attached picture above)

May I now end this Easter thoughts with a quote from an Internet friend (Ann Buwalda):

"Easter Sunday is more than shared time with family and friends. It is the celebration of the finished work of Christ. It embodies perhaps the most important facet of our faith--the resurrection of the body and spirit. Because Christ bore our sin and death, we are now set free to live in loving gratitude. We are no longer slaves to our human nature, but reborn into the resurrection of Jesus" -- to serve the Living Lord !

HAPPY RESURRECTION & GOD BLESS YOU !

Your Friend In Christ,
Bishop Varghese L. Mathai, Th.D., Ph.D.


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