Every day I’m chapil’n | Issue 6
How hopeful are you? As we race towards Easter and mid-semester break, it might seem an odd question to ask, but before you read on take a moment to ask yourself, “How hopeful am I?” How hopeful concerning local and world events; concerning your academic future; concerning college mates, flatmates, and your relationships in general? How hopeful are you?
For the last ten days I, along with my chaplaincy colleagues Greg and Mark, have been preoccupied with the sudden and unexpected death of student Thiago Nazario. His family in Brazil and his many friends here in Dunedin and elsewhere in NZ are devastated, breathless with the agony of their loss. It has been our task to comfort and encourage those affected by this tragedy. But where can one find hope in a crisis such as this?
The challenges you face may be no less painful and disorientating – just different in kind. Or perhaps you are unsettled at an almost subliminal level; anxious for no apparent reason? Then again, you might be perfectly happy. Your year is going well. Nevertheless my question still applies: how hopeful are you? Indeed, where can hope be found?
From my experience, and the experience of many, many others (including Thiago’s family), the Christian story of Easter offers hope. With the savage torture and death of Jesus of Nazareth at the hands of the Romans (think Mel Gibson’s The Passion of The Christ, only worse) his family and friends despaired. All hope was gone; their dreams shattered. Yet contrary to all expectations, from the midst of death, hopelessness and despair God raised this same Jesus to new life. Death was swallowed up in Life.
In the events of the Easter story God is shown to be overwhelmingly for us – for you! Because of the Easter events there is hope – even in the most desperate of circumstances. In whatever you are facing you can be hopeful!
So while you’re munching your way through your stash of Easter eggs this weekend I invite you to read the Easter story for yourself. You can find it in the Bible, in the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – consider it research from primary sources. And if you’d like to talk about what you find after mid-semester break, give Greg, or Mark or me a call. We’d love to listen.
But in the meantime, have a happy, safe, and hope-filled Easter.
Mike Wright, University Chaplain.