It is Easter Awakening time again on Saturday, March 27, from 1pm to 5pm at the Yarra Junction oval. Each year in the week prior to Easter, a free festival is staged by the churches on the Warburton Trail as a gift to their community. Apart from the free sausages, there will be children's face painting, a fancy dress cycle competition, bush bands and many more activities.
Since the festival first started in Yarra Junction, almost 3000 people have attended. Lilydale has a similar festival the next day at Lilydale Lake. In fact there will be festivals all over Australia sponsored by local church people/
Neville Adams with his wife Anne, together with Clive and Aggie Halls, Eddie and Shirley Pye, Les Ryan and Walter Sylvester met in 1991 to plan the first festival. This combined church activity became part of the pre-history for the current combined church activities. Neville has now become the festival co-ordinator for Victoria and is available to talk to groups and communities who wish to be part of this Awakening program. For information phone Neville on 59671259.
Easter reflections: Jesus' Death - was it a waste?
Recently our news headlines spelled out tragedy after tragedy. A man shot because a chicken roll was not hot enough - innocent shoppers gunned down - James Sette buried.
I'm sure your response was much like mine - what a waste! At times like these we ask why and generally try to find someone or something to blame. When a young life like baby James is taken, cut short so early, we especially grieve hard. As a community we get angry when people die and suffer undeservedly.
As I reflect on Easter I wonder what it means to the average Valley person? Is it a time to remember the suffering and death of Jesus who was crucified unjustly or are our minds on getting away for the Easter break? My conclusion is that many simply don't think of Jesus. Easter is becoming more about commercial sales and new myths about bunnies, hot cross buns and eggs. I think the ability to reflect on Jesus' death has more to do with our having some sort of relationship with him. Jesus' death was cruel, he suffered much and some would say it was a waste of life.
The good news is that just when it looked like a waste, he rose again from the dead three days later. How many people do you know who have been raised from the grave? The important point is that Jesus is God's son and it was God's power that raised Him.
Now it adds up - Jesus actually lives in spirit with his Father. So this is the reason why we can have a personal relationship with him. This brings us back to my first point. If you're related you'll feel the pain of Good Friday and cut loose with excitement on Sunday as you cry 'Jesus lives'.
If you are going away for Easter, have a good break - maybe drop into a church somewhere and experience the Easter journey. If you want to chat about how you can relate to Jesus in this family sense or borrow a video, 'The Jesus Story', to play over Easter, give me a call.
For these requests and emergency food, clothing, accommodation, transport to doctors or hospital, personal or pastoral counselling and care, phone Focal Point.