About our Diocese

2014 Easter Greetings from our Bishop

Usambara viol
Sisters and brothers in Christ,
 
I greet you all in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour!
 
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive. (Hebrews 4: 14-16)
 
It is my pleasure and honour to have this opportunity to come out with this short message as I normally do. In the past few months since Christmas we were much occupied with the preparations of the 125 years jubilee of our Diocese which will take place in July 2015. Soon the invitations will reach you and thereafter there will being continuous communication between you and us. In addition to those preparations we are also preparing for the Synod Assembly which is to take place in September this year. So, you can just imagine how things look like in our hearts and minds. However, despite all the challenges we thank God for His never failing mercies and the blessings he showers on us as we continue with the preparations of those two big events. I invite you to support us with your prayers. 
 
At the moment let me wish you God’s blessings as we enter the Easter period. It is another opportunity for us to contemplate and be reminded of our salvation and how it was accomplished. God has done everything for us through His love by giving His only Son as sacrifice and as priest for the atonement of our sins.
 
The author of the Hebrews takes us back and forth in trying to narrate his story of salvation. He uses the strong Old Testament images in order to explain what took place in God’s salvation work in Jesus Christ. More interesting is the way he attempts to show that what was said and done during the OT about the salvation of God were promises which were accomplished in and through Jesus, the Son of God.  As one might note he is truly writing to the Hebrews. He uses strong image of high priest in the Jewish religion as comparable to the priesthood of Jesus; at the same time transcending the form and functions of Jewish priest by showing the superiority of Jesus’ priesthood over that of the Jewish. By a single act of his death on the cross Jesus accomplished what the Jewish priests have been doing repeatedly for years.  By his single sacrifice he accomplished and transcended what all sacrifices required by the Jewish religion could accomplish at all times. 
 
In addition to the external functionalities of the Jewish priests, namely offering sacrifices, the author gives us another important and distinct characteristic in the priesthood of Jesus. Jesus did not only offer sacrifices. Unlike the Jewish priests he did not only perform that external function of offering sacrifices. Actually the priests performed their duties of offering sacrifices without any concern and knowing about internal concerns of those who gave those sacrificial elements. The author tells us that it was different with Jesus: first, he sympathised with our weaknesses. Secondly, he was tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 
 
Being sympathetic in most cases goes with caring and loving heart. This simply means that Jesus is a priest whose functions are based on love. I assume that this picture partly implies that for himself being the offering and the at the same time functioning as the high priest made it possible to achieve the following: first to offer the sacrifice required for the cleansing of our sins forever; and secondly to perform the priestly function perfectly in the way that pleased God once and for all. For that single sacrificial and priestly action he has made the gracious mercies of God available to the generations of human being forever. That is what we have received from God and that is what we are reminded of during this Easter season. God’s love reaches us through such sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son. We have been set free.
 
May the Gracious God continue to reveal his love to us and open to us the treasures we have in the sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son and our Saviour Jesus Christ!
 
I wish you all a joyful and blessed Easter!
 
Bishop Dr. Stephen I. Munga