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EAR BUTANSINDA PARISH: MANY CHRISTIANS CAME TO JOIN THE WHOLE WORLD TO CELEBRATE EASTER 2022

Butansinda is one of the parishes of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, Shyogwe Diocese, Hanika Archdeaconry. It is located very closer to the National Road Kigali-Butare-Akanyaru.

Initially, the parish had 4 chapels; but currently, following the requirements of the Government in relation to the prevention of the spread of Covid Pandemic, security and cleanliness, two chapels are temporally closed. Chapels that currently operate are Butansinda and Rwoga, and we are struggling to fulfill the necessary requirements for the reopening of the remaining others.

Today, like all Christians around the world, those of Butansinda also celebrated the resurrection of our Savior and Lord Jesus-Christ. During his preaching, Archdeacon Joseph SEHORANA (Parish Priest) focused on the meaning and role of celebrating Easter. Find here below his sermon in full and some photos taken today during the service:

“Greetings, dear brothers and sisters! Happy Easter to you all! Praise is to God that as we celebrate this Easter we are able to gather in the church, and it is clear that the Covid-19 pandemic is declining. As I have already said, today Christians around the world are celebrating Easter. Jesus was resurrected. All Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) told the story of Jesus' resurrection, but today I will use the Gospel according to John. I will especially focus on the first verse of Chapter 20, which says:Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance

Easter has its origins in the Old Testament. The Israelites celebrated it by remembering how the death passed without affecting them because of the mark of the blood of the lamb left on the doorposts of their houses (Exodus 12: 21-23). If you look closely, you see that the Israelites Passover was the image of the Jesus’ Easter.

Indeed, at the first Passover of the Israelites, they ate lamb, and they ate bitter herbs and bread made without yeast. They ate with their cloak tucked into their belt, their sandals on their feet and their staff in their hand. They were to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they ate the lambs. (Exodus 12: 1-13) The Lamb pictured Jesus Christ-Jesus is "the Lamb of God." (John 1:36) Unleavened bread explains how the Israelites left Egypt quickly and did not let it grow. The tearing it down meant that the chains that had bound them were broken and they gained independence. But it also foreshadowed the body of Christ to be mocked. The bitter vegetable reminds the bitterness of Egyptian life; but they also foreshadowed how Christ would suffer for the sins of the world. Eating standing, sticking sticks, kicking shoes reminds of preparing for the embarrassing trip. This for Christians reminds us that we are on a journey to heaven. The shedding of blood on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses shows the power and protection due to faith in the blood of Jesus. Anyone who was with the Israelites was allowed to celebrate the Passover. This signified that Jesus would redeem all mankind.

Apparently, the Easter is not just for the Israelites only, as some think. Instead Easter is the basis of Christianity. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, our preaching would have been in vain. At Easter we remember the suffering and sorrow of Jesus on the cross, but we also remember that Jesus overcame death and Satan, and brought back glory and honor. Christ overcame death for us. For us who have the mark of the blood of Jesus, we will not perish but have eternal life. Even in real life Satan always causes us death but Jesus passes us by. Yet even if we die, we may die with the hope of resurrection. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die." (John 11:25) Jesus' death has given us an everlasting life. Surely “death saves us from death”! That is why David said, " Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants." (Psalms 116: 15) As Christians, we do not die, we sleep. When the time comes, the power of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ will wake us up and bring us into a new life. (Numbers 8:11; l. 4:14) This hope frees us from the fear of death and its ropes!

In celebration of the Passover, all Christians should remember that Jesus urges us to be fearless and to go out preaching. That is what Jesus commanded after His resurrection: "Fear not ... go and tell ..." (Matt. 28: 5; 7). Easter teaches us that we should preach the Gospel instead of constantly worrying and fearing death. We should strive to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus' authority without fear of anything. Jesus overcame death, opened the tomb, turned the rock and sat on it, and the soldiers fell to the ground. These days you may feel like you're locked up in a cave or you feel like there's a rock on you. I assure you that there is no grave Jesus can’t open; there is no rock that Jesus can’t roll back. As the angel descended and rolled up a stone and sat on it, so that at the right time Jesus would come and remove the rock that was heavy on you. As Jesus has risen from death, He also has the power to resurrect our dead stuffs.

Easter is a day of celebration. We have to celebrate the Jesus’ victory. It's not an election victory, or a particular political party one; rather it is the victory of life over death. Today it is a triumph of truth over falsehood, of love over hatred, of courage over fear, of light over darkness, of freedom over slavery. Jesus’ victory is for all of us; so we have to share the joy. Let us not seek life from the dead; get out of our graves. The rock has been removed; we must live a new life in Christ Jesus. We must stop living in the grave-We have to get out of the grave where Satan has locked us up. You may be locked up in a grave of hatred, conflict, jealousy, endless anger, domestic violence; etc. Today Jesus asks you to get out all these tombs and rise with Him.

We should stop celebrating the Passover as a routine. We must remember the features of the Passover of Christ. Shortly before Easter, Jesus washed the feet of his apostles. (John 13:14) This is a sign of forgiveness and of serving others. Jesus taught that everyone should be respected and that whoever wants to be great has to become a servant of others. (Matt. 20: 26-28) The Passover celebration took place in the upper room (Luke 22: 7-20). At that time, Jesus and his disciples shared unleavened bread and wine. The fact that they share unleavened bread symbolizes truth and sincerity. The one bread Jesus broke with the same cup they drank symbolized that his body and blood were the only source of healing for sinners. At that meal, Jesus did not isolated Judas even if he was well aware that he was a traitor. This teaches us that Jesus never isolate sinners. So this reminds us that we should not isolate anyone; especially in the Holy Communion, when he is well-informed of the sacrament and agrees to attend it. Jesus is the Savior of all people! Even in the Passover of Israelites, a foreigner residing among them was also to celebrate it.” (Num. 9:10; 2 Chron. 30:17).

Brethren in Christ Jesus, on this Easter, let ask Jesus to enable us to get out of all the tombs where we are locked up. Let ask Him to give us strength in order to be able to break all the chains that bind us, in order to rise up with Him. Amen!”

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Arch. Joseph SEHORANA