Bündnisfeier Marienberg Bamberg

Posted On 2024-04-25 In Covenant Life

A celebration of covenant between war and Easter

GERMANY, Renate Siebenkäs • 

It is Covenant Day at Easter time, and it is Covenant Day in times of war and civil war. When has the reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 8:26-40) had such a direct reference to the times: “An angel of the Lord said to Philip: Arise and go south on the road that leads from Jerusalem to Gaza”. Fr. Andreas Hornung picks this up at the Covenant celebration at the Marienberg, Bamberg, and it is very moving because it names concrete destinations in the Gaza Strip. —

Gaza and the land surrounding it (“Strip” is the name given to it because it lies between the borders of Israel and the Mediterranean), a land that has been populated for 3,000 years. Pastor Hornung used concrete cases to illustrate the full impact of the war. How dramatically the children in particular experience the fact that they lack almost everything. There was great consternation. The region we call the Holy Land is deeply torn apart. There is indescribable suffering. And where is Jesus?

The Risen One heals cracks of sadness, death and guilt

Heiligtum Marienberg Bamberg

Shrine during the Easter period

The Risen One heals the crack of sadness: the disciples, who were plunged in deep sadness, rejoice when they see and recognize Jesus, the Risen One. Joy fills them wholeheartedly.

The Risen One heals the wound of death: In his resurrection, Jesus proves to be the Savior from sin and death. The fear of death is overcome, as the Easter hymns repeatedly say.

The Risen One heals the crack of guilt, of sin: Jesus instructs his disciples: “Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven”. Since the resurrection of Jesus, there is no more guilt that cannot be forgiven.

Closed doors open

Easter morning was as different as it could have been according to human judgment. How the Risen One dealt with the injustice of days past and the failure of the disciples was so liberating. And how he opened closed doors in word and deed, then and now.

Pastor Hornung said:

“In the biblical text of the Easter Gospel, I have the impression that the Risen One extends not just one finger toward the disciples, but all five fingers, that is, his whole hand, to help them.

  • As a promise of peace: Peace be with you!
  • As a revelation of vulnerability: here there is nothing to hide.
  • As a sign of his mission and destiny: As the Father has sent me, so I send you.
  • As orientation and strengthening for all that is to come: Receive the Holy Spirit.
  • As explicit authority to forgive sins”.

Jesus thus breaks the cycle of fantasies of revenge and accusations of guilt. He does not simply point the finger at the disciples and us. He reaches out to them and to us. His hands reach out beyond the abyss of betrayal and death into a new, different future. There, what has happened no longer needs to be taken into account.

The wounds of the Risen One help the disciples not to repress the dark past of the last days and not to remain bound to failure and guilt for the rest of their lives.

The miracle of the resurrection makes it possible for painful wounds to become a sign of reconciliation and faithfulness. This is what happened on the first Easter morning: from the wounds of love to the miracle of love.

If there is to be peace, between Israel and Palestine, between China and the West, between Russia and the West, then only if guilt is forgiven, because Christ, peace itself, comes to us and strengthens the will for peace, when HE himself says in the midst of wars between peoples and between neighbors, relatives, colleagues, parishioners …: Peace be with you.

Bündnisfeier Marienberg Bamberg

Original: German. Translation: Marcela Fernández, Toronto, Canada

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