2000 years ago, some women had gone to Jesus’ burial place, only to find the tomb empty, the guards terrified, and an angel sitting on the stone that had sealed the tomb. The women were afraid. The angel invited the women to, “Come and see,” and then, “Go and tell.”
In the 1970s, Festo Kivengere, a bishop in Uganda, had to flee his country. Idi Amin, Uganda’s leader, had summoned several bishops to his quarters where angry mobs bayed for their deaths. Janani Luwum, the archbishop, was detained while the others were released. The next day the government said that the archbishop had died in an accident. A few days later, 45,000 Ugandans gathered in Kampala for a memorial service for the archbishop. Festo Kivengere was not there; he and his wife had been urged to flee and escaped into Rwanda.
Festo Kivengere became a global messenger of the good news of Jesus. I was there when he visited a London church one Easter Day in the 1970s and preached on the words the angel spoke to the women on that first Easter Day. Festo’s face, in repose, showed marks of sorrow and suffering, but when speaking of the resurrection, it lit up with joy. Death is not the end for those who believe. It is the start of a new forgiven life of hope and peace. We all experience pain and grief. It was experienced to an extreme by Jesus Christ who – like Janani Luwum – was hounded by angry mobs and died a violent death, but was balanced and outstripped by the joy and new life of resurrection.
Festo was full of excitement and enthusiasm. Why? He had good news to share. Christ is risen! Joy, hope, life – that is the message. “Come and see!” “Go and tell!” May you know God’s presence, power and peace this Easter.