As Christians around the world celebrate the Risen Christ this Easter, may this exhortation by The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda inspire our thoughts, words, and deeds. For HIS glory, indeed.
My Fellow Ugandans,
There is a wonderful Easter Hymn called “Because He Lives.” The chorus says,
“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives”
How do we know that “Jesus lives?”
The last line of the first verse answers that question – “An empty grave is there to prove my Saviour lives.”
Easter proclaims that Jesus is alive! His empty grave is proof of it.
Jesus’ resurrection is God’s confirmation that everything Jesus said about Himself is true. Many people today are not trustworthy. But, Jesus is trustworthy. We can entrust our lives, our future, and our eternal destiny to Him.
This Jesus, whom God raised from the dead, will never die again.
This Jesus whom God raised from the dead will return one day and ask each one of us how His resurrection changed our lives. We will have to account one day for our response to the fact that the only one who has ever been raised from the dead, never to die again, is Jesus of Nazareth. “Because He lives, we can face tomorrow.”
So, How has Jesus changed your life and how you relate to others?
When God raised Jesus from the dead, He declared that He values life. My brothers and sisters, in so many ways, our African value of life and our Christian value of life are being challenged. We must stand up for the value of life!
Climate change has brought increased drought. Of course, we have the dry season every year. But, the recent droughts are more than what we normally have. They have led to serious hunger in parts of the country. Some have even died from starvation. Do we care? Jesus fed 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish. He shared what he had; God multiplied; and, people were satisfied.
What about you? God values life…and, we must do more as individuals, churches, dioceses, and a government to ensure that hungry Ugandans – in Karamoja, Isingiro, Teso, and other places – and even the thousands of South Sudanese in refugee camps in the North, have enough food. We must work for a public policy that ensures drought does not lead to famine, hunger and starvation.
Because Jesus lives, we – individually and those affected by drought and famine – can face tomorrow. Please give generously to ensure that food relief can be taken to those who need it most.
God values life…and we must do more to ensure that every member of our families is treated with dignity and respect and gets an opportunity for the future God has planned for them.
The Church of Uganda extends its appreciation to the Government of Uganda and Partners for their efforts towards the “End Malaria for Good” campaign. As we prepare to commemorate World Malaria Day on 25th April 2017, the Government has embarked on National Campaign to provide enough mosquito nets for every household across the country. I call upon each and every Ugandan to Chase Malaria and sleep under a mosquito net every time you go to bed. We envision Malaria Free Families by 2020.
This is the Year of the Family. Domestic violence and defilement must come to an end. Beating wives and children, making orphans into domestic “slaves” – these things are terrible. God values the life of every single human being and we dare not contradict God! This is the Year of the Family and I call on all parents to organize their families so that the life of every member of their family is valued! Because Jesus lives, we can face tomorrow!
The rampant and senseless murders, road deaths, maternal deaths, abortions, and threat to legalize abortion also cause us great concern. We have seen too much violence, especially in the death last month of Andrew Felix Kawesi, our beloved AIGP, his bodyguard, Kenneth Erwau, and his driver, Godfrey Wambewo.
But, there is also violence through neglect and apathy. The number of women who die in childbirth because the corruption in the Ministry of Health has meant there are not enough doctors, nurses, birth attendants, facilities, or medicine to support women in troubled pregnancies.
There is violence on our roads from the greed, impatience, and indiscipline of drivers who drive poorly maintained vehicles and drive recklessly.
Some in the government and their NGO-allies would like to legislate violence by legalizing the killing of babies through abortion. A country that legalizes abortion and does not advocate for the lives of the voiceless will be subject to God’s judgment.
I urge our MPs to resist the sweet persuasion of some in our government and other international voices and to stand up for life! Life for our mothers and life for the unborn. Say “No” to abortion. Abortion is murder.
The living Lord Jesus Christ is our peace; by his death and resurrection, we are healed, forgiven and reconciled. Violence is never acceptable for those who follow the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ. “Because He lives, we can face tomorrow.”
So many of these concerns and opportunities are addressed in the Church of Uganda’s new 10-year Master Strategic Plan. The vision of the new strategic plan is “A Faster Growing Sustainable Christ-centred Church” and is focused on four broad areas: Mission, socio-economic empowerment, community engagement, and institutional development. The plan is aimed at streamlining and strengthening the Church Ministry in all the key areas for effective service delivery throughout the country. It will be launched by His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at Hotel Africana on Thursday, 20th April at 2 p.m.
We send greetings to the President of Uganda, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his dear wife, Mama Janet, and to all Members of Parliament and the Judiciary. I also greet all the Bishops and their wives, the Clergy, Lay Readers, and Christians of the Church of Uganda.
Finally, I send my sincere greetings, along with prayers for a blessed Holy Week and glorious Easter for our Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Pentecostal brethren, and to all those who have put their trust and faith in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ.
This Easter, as families and as a country, may we all know this truth about Jesus – “Because he lives, we can face tomorrow.” Happy Easter!
The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali
Archbishop of the Church of Uganda