This year, in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI prayed for respite from poverty and disease in Africa. He further prayed,
“At a time of world food shortage, of financial turmoil, of old and new forms of poverty, of disturbing climate change, of violence and deprivation which force many to leave their homelands in search of a less precarious form of existence, of the ever-present threat of terrorism, of growing fears over the future, it is urgent to rediscover grounds for hope.”
Of course, the “grounds for hope” to which he referred is found only in our God, Jesus Christ, who on Easter morning, defeated the greatest enemy the world has ever known when He rose up from the grave.
At Yei Children’s Village, we celebrated Easter with lots of joy and celebration. At dawn, children all across the compound were calling out, “Jesus is risen!” Our church service was full of singing – and in Africa, wherever you have singing, you have dancing! We danced and sang – and danced some more – and then two groups of kids came to perform their own prepared songs and dances. After one of our older boys told the story of the resurrection, some children performed a short drama, reenacting the Gospel story. I then summarized the good news of Jesus’ resurrection, and welcomed the kids to believe in Jesus, if they had never consciously chosen to trust in Him before. We prayed for the sick in our midst, and then all ran off to the shelter of our houses as a rain storm rolled in.
When evening came, the rain had stopped, and all of the kids gathered to watch the Jesus Film projected on the outer wall of one of the children’s houses. They actively participated as we watched a reenactment of the life of the Man who was more than just a man – the Life that was larger than life and could not be overcome by death.
It was a beautiful Easter, and a wonderful reminder of the fundamental truth of Christianity. God’s love conquered death. No suffering or pain that the human race knows has ever been so final as death- and even death no longer holds any sway over those of us who believe in Jesus’ victory. Jesus is our eternal hope.