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HOPE TAKES EASTER PEOPLE BEYOND A VIOLENT WORLD

– 2015 Easter message from Dr Philip Freier, Anglican Primate of Australia and Archbishop of Melbourne

Watch message at http://www.melbourneanglican.org.au/Easter

Physical violence in any form is repulsive - it offends Jesus' promise of peace - and yet we know that violence fills our world: whether it is in the home, on our streets, or in the many tragedies and inhumanities that fill our television screens. Violence seems an inescapable part of the human condition. But Christians have less reason than anyone to despair in the face of the cruelty and callousness we so often encounter, because we are a Resurrection people who dwell in hope.  No matter how awful our personal circumstances, we know that is not the last word. Jesus Christ met vicious cruelty and an agonising death, as the Gospel accounts in the Bible make clear. But death could not hold him. And the Bible tells us that his Resurrection is the guarantee that death cannot hold us either.

Because of his Resurrection, those who turn to him in faith, accept his loving sacrifice and build our lives on the basis of faith and gratitude. All who believe in Jesus know that they too will rise from the dead.

The sufferings of the present world can be deeply intense, and we do not try to minimise that, but we contrast them with the hope we have in Christ. That is partly why Christians have sought to change the world – with the gospel, working with the most despised, tending the suffering and the powerless. We feel compelled to act in the world and assert the Resurrection hope.

We are an Easter people, because the Resurrection shapes the world for us. And despair cannot conquer us.

Jesus told us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

May you have a blessed and happy Easter time.

Archbishop Freier will preach at the 9.00am service on Good Friday and the 10.30am service on Easter Day in St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne. See his Easter message on YouTube at http://www.melbourneanglican.org.au/Easter

ISIS CANCER SPREADS TO CENTRAL ASIA

Central Asia (MNN) -- The Islamic State isn't just "putting up shop" in Pakistan. They've got their eyes on the entirety of Central Asia. Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International says, "Maybe ISIS is losing steam in some areas, some holdings they have had in Syria or Iraq, but they're gaining steam in other areas."