By Matters India Reporter
Manado, Indonesia: Songs and dances of celebration filled the Maesa Open Stadium as participants of the Asian Ecumenical Youth Assembly, together with thousands of faithful from more than one thousand congregations and denominations of Christian churches in Indonesia, came together for the Asia Easter Celebration in Tondano Stadium in the Minahasa region North Sulawesi, April 8.
The mountains standing firmly against the bright skies provided a dramatic backdrop for the celebration with the theme “Send us your light and truth to lead us.” The gathering emphasized the resurrection as the most powerful event in the life of Christ and is the very reason for the celebration.
In a sermon delivered by Dr. Henriette H. Lebang, General Chairperson of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia expounded on the meaning and relevance of resurrection to the churches today.
“In Christ, there is new life beyond death and futility. Just as Christ was raised from the dead, so we are to live in the newness of life. Thus, commit ourselves to the newness of life, to the newness of hope. Whatever problems we face in our families, churches, nations and the world, we can overcome them because of the risen Christ.”
She also powerfully challenged the participants to be the witness of the light of Christ and to let the truth shine in the midst of daily lives in order to overcome falsehood, lust, corruption, and greed.
“Let the resurrection of Christ inspire us and to renew us to walk in the light and truth. By the power of the holy spirit, we should be changed significantly from being children of darkness to being children of light.”
“We should transform from loving ourselves to loving others. From marginalizing and excluding others to embracing inclusivity with the love of Christ and sharing the light with others.”
“Stop manipulating the truth and to start speaking the truth and light of God. Keep our integrity as children of Christ and to be witnesses of resurrected Christ through concrete actions. In whatever difficult situation that we face today, the light of God will shine in the whole world,” she added.
The event, organized by the Gereja Masehi Injikli di Minahasa (GMIM), or the Evangelical Christian Church in Minahasa, and the member churches of the PGI in North Sulawesi region in coordination with the provincial government of North Sulawesi, was also graced by some national and local government officials of Indonesia.
Dr. Yasonna H. Laoly, Indonesian Minister of Law and Human Rights, in his greetings said “It is indeed true that the resurrection of Christ is an amazing grace. Only by the grace of God that we are saved.”
“As a young generation, as you see all churches from Asia celebrating the resurrection of Christ today, may it lead all of you in this ecumenical experience and encourage you to share the grace of God.”
The Indonesian leader thanked the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) for coming to the event and said that the people of Indonesia in North Sulawesi, being inhabitant’s of God’s grace, celebrate with the church the resurrection of Christ.
CCA General Secretary, Dr. Mathews George Chunakara, said that the celebration is a unique opportunity as it provides a common platform for churches and participants all over Asia to celebrate Easter together.
“Easter brought us here because Easter gives us the strength and the power. Easter binds us together through the sacrifice of Christ and his love and care for the humanity. That is the reason why we are here to celebrate the resurrection of Christ,” he said.
The CCA General Secretary also recognized the initiative of Indonesian churches that worked hard to bring together Asian countries into the event.
The event ended as Indonesian local artists performed songs for the crowd followed by a parade showcasing colorful traditions of Indonesia and different symbols of celebrating the resurrection.