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21 March 2016

Holy Week 2016: arise and shine

Holy Week 2016: arise and shine

Join us during Holy Week as we reflect on what it is to arise from the sorrow and darkness of Good Friday and into the light of Easter Day.

by Dr Jonathan Oloyede, a church leader in east London

This week Christians and non-Christians will be reminded about the jubilant celebrations as Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on a donkey through the East Gate. As the days unfold we see the singing turn into sighing and sorrow as the Saviour of the world is arrested, flogged, and crucified. The hailing morphs into heckling.

Hope and vision died on the Cross that day for many in Jerusalem who looked to Jesus as a national reformer and political Messiah.

We are planting a church within Becontree, the largest council estate in the UK if not the world. We have been prayer walking all its streets with our friends from London City Mission. Many soldiers returning from the first and second world wars were housed there when it was built. Thousands from the slums of east London were relocated.

For the working class this was a step up and aspirations were raised as families moved into better housing conditions. Today many are in a circle of depression, unemployment, debt and poverty.

Hope has died....

Many Christians today are stuck between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Expectations of what God can do, should do, would do, are entangled with realities of pain, disappointment, poverty, chaos and bewilderment. Many could not reconcile the gore and ugliness of the cross with the will of God.

In the midst of all the gloom, darkness, gut-wrenching failure and death, resurrection happens! Everything changes as we suddenly see the glorious plan of God, His love and His power.

As we have walked and talked with the beautiful people of Becontree, we see God at work in the midst of domestic violence, addiction and deprivation. We see Jesus walking the streets of east London touching and loving people irrespective of their heart condition.

This Easter, let us move from Good Friday onto Resurrection Sunday. Let hope come alive in the Church and among Christians as we understand the mystery of the Cross. 'God is not afraid of the dark' and neither should we be!

Let believers everywhere and the Church arise and shine with the message of Easter. God came down from the highest place to the lowest place to get us back to the right place.

I believe with all of my heart that the United Kingdom is poised for many people to become Christians as the story of Easter is told.