Revered Stu Cameron, CEO and superintendent of Wesley Mission, delivers his 2021 Easter Message addressing the challenges facing Australians as we look ahead to the promise of a post-pandemic future including homelessness, gender inequality, financial stress and poverty.
In dark times, where do we look for the light?
2020 was a challenging year globally, with increased isolation and anxiety, financial stress and health concerns.
This Easter comes amidst the rollout of vaccines and the promise of a post-pandemic future. But for many people, the negative impacts of the pandemic will be long lasting, whether through job loss, homelessness, domestic violence, addiction or family separation.
Even for the many people who have escaped the pandemic’s harshest effects, there is a weariness we may never have experienced before.
But Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
His words are for you today – follow him, and life will be illuminated in a whole new way. His words are for us all – to challenge us to carry the light, to bring hope to our world. To expose to the light, the systems that oppress.
Now is not the time to step back – but step up. Now is not the time to be careful – but bold.
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To listen to the experiences of women and girls. To challenge our deeply inequitable world, just as Jesus did.
To stand with our First Nations brothers and sisters, welcoming national truth-telling and action that underpins reconciliation.
To care deeply for our neighbours and place the highest value on our community’s cherished older members’ care and support, and to empower people with disability.
This last year has shown us that change is possible if we choose it: Homelessness can be addressed if we prioritise providing housing first. People can find freedom from gambling when poker machines are turned off. That providing income support at a level that offers dignity and alleviates poverty prevents people from making impossible decisions between housing, food, medications, and paying bills.
Amidst all the darkness we see in our world, the Easter story gives us cause for present hope. Before the sun has risen, Jesus is raised to life, and the women find an empty tomb. While it’s still dark, God does his finest work.
Will you welcome the light this Easter? Will you radiate his hope and reflect his justice?
I hope and pray that together we can.