Easter Week: Choosing love in the face of death
The second in a series of Easter Week reflections from a Middle Eastern perspective by regular Ekklesia contributor Dr Harry Hagopian. These talks (see MP3 below) are being broadcast by Premier Christian Radio, and are reproduced with their cooperation.
For us Armenians, the Light of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday this year also coincided with the 96th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide that is commemorated annually on 24 April. Our memories are traumatised by the martyrdom of our forbears who suffered persecution, torture, deportation and death during the 1915 genocide.
It is true that these events, with all their evil, abandonment and despair, remind many Armenians of the crucifixion of Jesus when he turned to the Father and asked, Eloi ,Eloi, lama sabachthani - My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Mark 15.34)
Yet, there is a second, more important, truth for me: the cross yielded to the Resurrection, God’s gift of life, which defeated death, just as we Armenians also survived the genocide and defied death.
We Armenians should learn to choose love as our weapon of choice so we can liberate ourselves from the darkness of death and come into the light of life. Whilst the murder of well over a million Armenian men, women and children is plainly too horrible to be forgotten, it needs to be turned into a power that celebrates life, rather than only recalling death.
As victors who triumphed against all odds, we also have a responsibility to go beyond our own sorrow and stand in solidarity with the victims of all other genocides worldwide.
© Harry Hagopian is an international lawyer, ecumenist and EU political consultant. He also acts as a Middle East and inter-faith advisor to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales and as Middle East consultant to ACEP (Christians in Politics) in Paris, and he is a regular Ekklesia contributor (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/HarryHagopian). Formerly, he was Executive Secretary of the Jerusalem Inter-Church Committee and Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches. He is consultant to the Campaign for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (UK) and author of The Armenian Church in the Holy Land. Dr Hagopian’s own website is www.epektasis.net
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