Be a Witness to the Resurrection

Jesus’ resurrection is what Easter is all about, but another dimension that keeps surfacing in the New Testament accounts of Easter – and actually long after Easter – is the disciples’ witness to the resurrection. We see this dimension built in to the Easter accounts themselves – in John 20, for example, Mary Magdalene meets Jesus in the garden, and after she realises who he is and he speaks to her, she goes and tells the disciples ‘I have seen the Lord’. In Matthew 20:8, the women who have seen Jesus run to tell the disciples their eyewitness testimony – in a society where women did not typically run. In Luke 24, when the two disciples have met Jesus on the road to Emmaus, and have finally seen who he is, they return to Jerusalem straight away to tell the others about what has happened to them and that Jesus is alive.

Later, when the disciples meet to choose a Twelfth Man to replace Judas Iscariot, one of the key items of the job description is that this one will be a witness to the resurrection. As the book of Acts unfolds, we see the Spirit-empowered church putting into action Jesus’ command to be his witnesses.

Witnessing to the resurrection of Jesus remains central to the task of the church. Unlike the apostles, we have not seen Jesus alive ourselves, but we rely on their testimony, and pass the story on in our own generation – in our own neighbourhoods and to the ends of the earth. We can acknowledge that the resurrection is a hard event to believe – but it was just as hard to believe in the apostles’ time as it is in ours. The apostles didn’t try to argue for the resurrection, they simply witnessed to it. What they argued for was what the resurrection proved about Jesus: that he is the king in God’s kingdom and therefore, that he rescues us, rules the world, and is to be loved, worshipped and obeyed.

I had the opportunity of sharing the story of Jesus’ resurrection with a young Aboriginal man a couple of weeks ago. He came from Minyerri, but divides his time between Mataranka, Minyerri, Katherine and Darwin. He didn’t really know any stories about Jesus. The news of Jesus rising from the dead is still news that people around us don’t know. Many do not even know that this is what the Easter festival is about. For us, Easter is at the heart of our faith, and the heart of our witness. Jesus is risen – he is risen indeed.

Bishop Greg Anderson

 

Presidential charge to the Synod of the Diocese of the Northern Territory

Bishop Greg Anderson’s Charge to the Synod of the Diocese, Friday May 5th, 2017.

Welcome to the 34th Synod of the Diocese of the Northern Territory. It is a great opportunity for us to meet as representatives from Anglican churches across the Territory, with all of our geographical, social, language and cultural differences, yet fundamentally united as brothers and sisters, because in Christ God has rescued us and brought us into one family. Synod in the Northern Territory is a much more complicated matter than in some other parts of the Anglican Church of Australia. Many people have to travel long distances to be here. We have challenges of accommodation. We have challenges of communication. We have challenges of providing food. I am very grateful to all those who have put in an enormous effort into preparing for this synod. In particular, our Registrar, Leeanne Zamagias, has spent many weeks in gathering and putting together the synod papers and in organising logistics, assisted by Jai Chandler in the diocesan office. Our Ministry Development Officer, Kate Beer, as well as being involved in organising logistics for synod, has worked hard with Keith Joseph and Bruce Chapman on the new Professional Standards Ordinance which will be considering tomorrow. [Read more…]

Bishop Greg’s Easter Message 2017

“So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.”

Bishop Greg Anderson

I guess we are so used to the outline of the Easter story that we easily lose the details that ring so true-to-life. There’s an example in that sentence I just read out. Running is not a common activity in the New Testament, because first-century Palestine was not really a running culture. In particular, women were not runners. But the Easter story, not just in Matthew’s account, but in John’s as well, features quite a lot of running. These women run to tell the disciples the news they have just heard from the angel, that Jesus is no longer dead in the tomb but has risen.

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Bishop Greg’s Easter Message 2016

Bishop Greg Anderson - photo courtesy Anglicane NTPolitical commentator Mungo MacCallum recently described Malcolm Turnbull’s performance in the top job as ‘a hugely disappointing resurrection’.

Maybe it is good that the word resurrection still has some place in today’s media. But the first resurrection sets the benchmark. All other so-called resurrections, including the PM’s, are inevitably hugely disappointing. They all, in the end, run out.

What Christians believe about the first resurrection, the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the first Easter Day, is different.

Jesus appeared to his disciples, alive in his body, on the third day after his well-documented death.

This was not just a temporary return to life that would in the end run out. It was a breakthrough into a new and transformed kind of life, which provides hope for the whole world.

Our bodily life in the present world will in the end run out, but Jesus’ resurrection points forward to a future where death itself is defeated and life no longer ends.

Christians believe that the first Easter turns a corner onto the straight where we see clearly into the distance. What we see is a world where crises have been fixed, relationships restored, the environment healed and life is all good.

To be part of that future we align ourselves with Jesus.

Our present life has many potentials for difficulty, but Easter is like an anchor that gives us a mooring point of confidence. It injects the future into the present in a way that is anything but disappointing.

Bishop Greg Anderson

Bishop Greg’s first post

Bishop AndersonThis is the first time that I am writing to the whole diocese, and I want to take the opportunity of saying how glad I am to be here with you.

Together we have been chosen by God for the work that God has for us. That work centers on showing and telling people about the love God has for them (and the whole creation) in making a rescue plan for the world – and that plan centers on Jesus Christ.

When we gather in our churches, we are celebrating that rescue and, I hope, growing in our understanding of it and our experience of it. Our diversity in the diocese reminds us that God’s rescue plan is for all kinds of people, and we celebrate that too. When we welcome and encourage one another, we are putting into action what God is doing in us.

Paul’s whole letter to the Ephesians is a great statement of these truths. (There are extracts from Ephesians in the lectionary later this year, but it is worth reading the whole letter in one go, and it doesn’t take long!)

It has been a great joy starting to visit the parishes in these early weeks back in the Territory, and Annette and I look forward to meeting those that we haven’t yet met. So far we have been to the Cathedral, Fred’s Pass and Sanderson, with visits scheduled for Nightcliff, Palmerston, Alice Springs and Katherine. I hope to visit Groote after Easter, and Minyerri and Ngukurr after Katherine Christian Convention.

I’m old enough that I use Facebook rather than Instagram, and have set up a new page called Bishop Greg NT. I hope that this can be a way of keeping in touch with you with what is happening in the diocese, matters to think about, and news from elsewhere. So if you’re on FB, please be my friend.