LWF Executive Committee member, Rev. Dr Yonas Yigezu Dibisa reflects on the transformative hope of the Cross
(LWI) - What is it that makes Good Friday good, on a day that we recall the darkest image of despicable cruelty and suffering? That is the question posed by Rev. Dr Yonas Yigezu Dibisa, President of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, in his message to the worldwide family of Lutheran churches.
Reflecting on the account of the Crucifixion, where we are told that Jesus would not drink the wine mixed with gall, Dibisa notes that: “If Jesus had allowed numbness to take effect, he would not have been able to announce the fulfillment of God’s eternal plan for the salvation of the world.”
In his Good Friday message, the Ethiopian church leader goes on to speak of the hope that comes from Jesus’ suffering on the Cross for the sins of the world. The church, he says, “is called into God’s mission of sharing the good news of hope amid suffering. Like Jesus, a suffering church offers hope by anticipating transformation: from sin to righteousness, injustice to justice, cruelty to kindness, hatred to love, animosity to fellowship, discord to harmony and from violence to stability and peace.”
The church lives not for itself, but for the world.
Rev. Dr Yonas Yigezu Dibisa, President of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus
Christ’s sacrifice of himself on the Cross, Dibisa continues, “calls the church to avoid turning inward and instead sacrifice itself for the good of others.” Indeed, he says, the church “lives not for itself, but for the world.”
Just as Jesus’ adversaries offered him wine “corrupted” with the bitter-tasting gall, Dibisa notes, “so does the brokenness of humanity keep corrupting the good gifts of God, denying many the right to enjoy the pleasant taste.”
Since Christ has won all the victory for us, he concludes, “let us face the challenges that come in hope and prayers,” putting “our hope in him” and responding to our “calling to live for others as well.”