The Easter message is “Sacrifice”
The Easter message is “Sacrifice” By Haben Zeray Dear Church leaders, First, I would like to say Happy Easter and “Dagmaay Fasika” to you and all the believers as we celebrate the tremendous sacrifice that Jesus Christ did
The Easter message is “Sacrifice”
By Haben Zeray
Dear Church leaders,
First, I would like to say Happy Easter and “Dagmaay Fasika” to you and all the believers as we celebrate the tremendous sacrifice that Jesus Christ did for all of us. Jesus sacrificed himself so we can be free and most of all so that we can be a shinning example for humanity. As I say Happy Easter, I would like to also challenge each church leader or anyone who is involved in any kind of church activities among Eritreans in these difficult days, by writing this short letter. It is difficult because we have many brothers and sisters around the world and inside Eritrea suffering who are longing for your attention.
The Bible is clear when it says Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called sons of God (Gospel of Mathew 5:9) . Those of us who wait to find some peace and solace in the church are faced with resentment and division and politicizing instead. Many people go to church to quite their spirit, humble themselves, be silent and seek peace within their souls. Many of our church leaders instead of meeting your followers needs , you seem to exacerbate people’s situation by ignoring the inflictions, by preaching politics and even some of you are working for Eritrean government instead of serving God and your members. The people want you to speak to their hearts and meet their spiritual needs. The depressed need your uplifting and encouragement. The sick need your prayers and those who are in jail need your prayers and visitation. The Bible does not discriminate who you should pray for, you have the responsibility to ease the pain of all those who are longing for relief.
Church leaders have responsibility not only for their own church but also for their community, country and the world. God commanded you to go to your flock (Jerusalem), communities (Samaria) and the utmost of the world. We are living in an era of hatred and resentment within our church walls, communities and neighbors (countries). What are you waiting for? Shouldn’t you , church leaders, be the first ones to declare fast and prayer for peace and reconciliation? Why are we not seeing town hall meetings for peace and reconciliation? Are you waiting for those bankrupt politicians to bring peace to your members? What are you doing to heal the wounds that are oozing with pain for the last 50 years between Eritreans and Eritreans, and even broader between Eritreans and Ethiopians? The bible is clear that hatred and resentment is not of God. In fact the Apostle Paul in one of his epistles said it best, you can move mountains and be the most knowledgeable guy around the world but if you do not have LOVE all your efforts amounts to nothing, zero. Have you forgotten if you want a peaceful community you must create a peaceful congregation first. Peace starts within all of us.
Before any church leader accepts leadership responsibility, first they should know they have a calling from God not the government. Second, they must use the word of God or the bible as their guiding principal for their life and the lives of their members. These leaders should be the voice of God and light (not darkness) to the world. If there is social injustice and abuse by the government they should be the first ones to speak out and cry foul. A spiritual leader, if need be, is a sacrificial lamb just like Jesus was sacrificial lamb for humanity. Church leaders should follow the example of the saints of the bible. Paul, Peter, John and many more are martyrs for their faith. They stood for what they believed until death. They were not afraid to die for their faith.
Most of us do note desire another person to die for their faith. In fact we should seek freedom of religion all over the world. However, when contradictions arise between “good” and “evil” church leaders using the bible or God as their guiding principle should stand-up for “good” even unto death and should lead their flocks to stand up for the truth. You might say, easier said than done. Not so quick my friends we have hundreds if not thousands of Eritreans who are now behind bars because they refused to recant their faith and chose to stand up for what they believe. To me these people are heroic Eritreans and are shinning examples for the ultimate sacrifice. We should constantly pray for them and tell the government not to touch them and show mercy on them, and further their blood is in their hands.
Why do many Eritreans “go with the flow” in their everyday life as if there are no principles to guide them? If a person cannot differentiate “good” and “evil” and be able to speak out and differentiate between “good” and “bad” and make a stand, then that person has reduced himself/herself to a bare minimum as a person. I like my dog because when I say “jump” it jumps or “sit” it sits and stairs at me waiting for the next command. Is this how we want to live our lives? I am appalled when I see especially church leaders live in fear of what others might think and forget the God given freedom to declare the principles and guidelines that the bible teaches. I simply cannot understand when our government leaders make gross mistakes and strip the very foundation of their own church, and you still see these church leaders “go with the flow”.
I say to these kind of leaders if your motive for “leading” the church is contrary to what your Bible teaches then you need to get out of the way. You need to feel responsible for the people you lead. If you cannot be an example then you are going to have confused members whose time will be spent to further divide your followers gossip about others etc..
Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called sons of God (Gospel of Mathew 5:9). Believers are called to be “Peace makers” or ambassadors for peace. If they cannot be “peace makers” or their activities are contrary to peace then as people we cannot have a blessing. In other words, without peace there is no blessing. It is not a blessing if I cannot feel safe and secure in my own country. It is not a blessing if the majority of people are struggling just to survive. It is not a blessing if the country is constantly poised for war and rumors of war. It is not a blessing when we see potential resources like the Assab port becomes a desolate port for lack of mature diplomatic relations with Ethiopia etc…
Church leaders and for that matter religious leaders are the thermostat of the people. They are a major force for human dignity, human values, courage and all the virtues that spells human decency. If you are looking for these virtues from politicians and your government you will be disappointed and betrayed. I don’t think there are other people in the face of our world now who got betrayed more than Eritreans. Betrayal made its home in Eritrea. Colonialists betrayed us and our own leaders that we placed a mountain of hope are trampling on us. The only hope is from God and our religious leaders. If we are to establish trust among Eritreans I believe it should start in religious forms that advocate trust in God, peace within yourself and peace with your neighbors. May God help our spiritual leaders.
Some one whose only hope is hanging on God and the church of Eritrea.
(This letter was written to Christian leaders simply because I am familiar with the Christian faith, Orthodox Christian, Kale Hiwot church, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist or any other denomination. Moreover, I believe “sacrifice” is the proper message for Christian Easter as well. I am not familiar with the Moslem faith and thus I cannot address them. I will leave that to those who are knowledgeable about the Islam faith).