Archbishop Stanley Ntagali’s Easter Message 2014

“He is not here; he has risen” (Matthew 28:6)

The central message of Easter is the Empty tomb – The disciples and family of Jesus went to the tomb early on a Sunday morning and were told by an angel, “He is not here; he has risen.”  The tomb was empty.

Yet, when my vehicle has no fuel, the empty tank is not good.  When there is no food in the store or granary, it is not good.  When my stomach is empty, it is not good.

Most of the time we think when something is empty that it is not good.

Yet, the empty tomb of Jesus tells us that “empty” is not always bad. Even the cross was empty! The resurrection of Jesus from the dead makes Jesus unique from all other people in history, especially other religious leaders. No one else has ever risen from the dead, except Jesus. Only Jesus has returned from the grave and he will never die again.

Some might argue that the empty tomb is not proof of Jesus’ resurrection.  They say that it just proves his body was not there. But, the fact that the disciples and many others saw Jesus after his resurrection, and we have eye-witness accounts of those experiences, proves that the empty tomb is more than just an empty space. Indeed, it is proof that Jesus was raised from the dead.

Yes, Jesus died. But, he overcame death. Death did not defeat him. Jesus’ resurrection demonstrates that he is more powerful than death, which is the most destructive force in the whole world.

So, my sisters and brothers, if you are “in Christ,” you, too, can defeat death and the many destructive forces working in the world today. In Christ, we have victory over dysfunctional relationships; victory over bad habits; victory over painful experiences; victory over sexual temptation; and victory over devastating circumstances.

If you are ‘in Christ,” you are not a victim. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead means you never have to be a victim again. The power that raised Jesus from the dead can transform you from being a victim to being a Conqueror.

And, my friends, it’s not just about conquering poverty. Resurrection power is so much more.  It is about overcoming jealousy and revenge.

It is about overcoming sexual abuse.

It is about overcoming lust.

It is about overcoming addictions like pornography or alcohol.

It is about overcoming greed and corruption.

We are not powerless to address these challenges in our lives!  Jesus has conquered death; He is victorious.  And, in Christ, we too can be conquerors and victorious.

So, I ask you this Easter, “Are you really in Christ?” “Have you been born again?”

We are living in very interesting times in Uganda. Like so many, I and the Church of Uganda are grateful to the President for signing into law the Anti-Homosexuality Act. We must assert our sovereignty and do what it takes to protect our children from being recruited into an immoral life and exploited by others.

Yet, as much as we are concerned about the vice of homosexuality, it is not our most pressing issue in Uganda. Our biggest challenge is greed.

Only a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ can put greed to death in our country and see generosity rise in its place.

The United States government and several European countries have decided to cut aid to Uganda because of our support for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.  I urge our government not to back down.

At the same time, I urge every Ugandan who supported this Bill to lay down greed; to lay down corruption.  Put them to death, and let generosity rise up within you and flow out in abundance.

If employees stopped embezzling money and ghost teachers stopped being paid and the practice of giving and receiving bribes stopped…I imagine that we could not only replace the aid that has been cut by these countries, but even rise above it and go beyond it.

My fellow Ugandans, in Christ, we are not victims. We are more than conquerors because Jesus is not here – “he has risen.”

We send greetings to the President of Uganda, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and Mama Janet;
The Vice President of Uganda;
The Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament and all Members of Parliament;
The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister;
Members of the Judiciary;
Our Brothers and Sisters in other Denominations;
My Brother Bishops, Clergy, Lay Readers and all Christians in all our Dioceses and;
All of you fellow Ugandans!

I wish you all a joyful Easter.  May this Easter be a turning point in your life and in our life as a country.

The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali