The angel said to Mary Magdalene, Mary and Salome: "Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you. They went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid” (Mark 16:6-8).
The Gospel of Mark (chapter 16) shows a group of courageous women go to the tomb in the early hours of the morning with the intention of anointing Jesus' body. The announcement of Jesus' resurrection made by the angel surprised them, even terrified them, and left them speechless. This is quite expected, for who could understand resurrection? Perhaps, the witnesses of Lazarus’ resurrection would (John 11). But for those women, they were just silent: "because of their fear".
I like to think that they did their part anyway, since we will soon be able to proclaim the liturgical formula "Jesus is risen - He is risen indeed - Alleluia! ".
But what does it mean to proclaim that Jesus is risen during a pandemic which has spread so much suffering, death, fear, and insecurity? What changes can we bring about so that our fears can be transformed into a song of trust and praise? The gospel invites each of us to search faithfully for an answer. Knowing that Mary Magdalene, Mary and Salome have found their voice - have found Jesus - it gives me hope for better days.
To all of us who are involved in the World Day of Prayer, I dare to say that prayer is one of the ways that allows us to rise up and proclaim with confidence that "Jesus is risen!" Another way is the WDP motto: “Informed prayer. Prayerful action” which guides our commitment to concretely live out our faith.
I love the refrain of the French hymn “Tu nous appelles à t’aimer” (You call us to love you) by the composer R. Fau:
“You call us to love you
by loving the world where you send us to,
O faithful God, give us,
by loving the world, to love only you! "
May we smile at life on this Easter morning of 2021!
Dear Friend, feel blessed!
Laurence Gangloff, WDPIC Chairperson
Holy, Holy, Holy, God creator of the heavens and the earth and all that is them. God is present in the history of his people from yesterday to today. Loving God, on whom Vanuatu stands, we adore you (2021 Worship Service prepared by WDP Vanuatu).
“As the day is drawing closer, we can feel the tender love of the Master around us. Vanuatu Christian Women are so excited to celebrate World Day of Prayer this year because God, through his grace, has appointed this tiny nation on the face of the earth to be the WDP Writer Country for 2021. We cannot thank God enough for this privilege and opportunity given to us. We believe that all celebrations will bring Honour and Praise to God’s Name alone,” states Ruth Dovo, the liaison of WDP Vanuatu, with great enthusiasm.
“In Vanuatu, we planned two events for this week: a parade and entertainments on Thursday, March 4th and the Worship Service on Friday March 5th. We already participated in a Talk-Back-Show program on our National TV station. The General Secretary of the Vanuatu Christian Churches spoke on the importance of Women's Programs in the Church, Cindy Vanuaroro spoke on the history of the WDP in Vanuatu and I gave an update on how Vanuatu became a Writer Country and our celebration programs. Our Message to the WDP Sisters around the world is - COVID-19 may hinder our gatherings but it cannot take away the Love of God in our hearts that binds us together. Thank you for all the prayers of our sisters around the world. God Bless you,” she continued.
This is the time when what has been prepared locally becomes visible from Vanuatu to around the globe. WDP is about building relationships which stand on prayer and action. This is the strong foundation of WDP. We focus on what is essential, which is #WDPUnitedInPrayer.
“The women of Vanuatu prepared the service that is holding the world together. We are ready. You are invited,” says Laurence Gangloff, WDP International Committee Chairperson. As one with the whole community she lifts up a prayer: “Oh God of love, bless this day; bless the communities; bless the offerings that will be given in response to your call. Yes, loving God, bless our prayers and actions so that they become a sign of your Kingdom! Amen.”
On this very day of unity, we join in prayer with Cindy Vanuaroro, the secretary of WDP Vanuatu:
Lord, help us to be good listeners of your Word.
Loving God, sharpen our ears to be keen listeners to your Word, as we used to do in our oral culture of listening well to each other around the fire in order to help each other out.
Help us listen well to your Word, which is the light to our daily path. Help us to have reverence for you in all we do in our families, communities, society and nation. Especially at these uncertain times when we have gone through disasters, sickness, domestic violence, and many other societal issues that are affecting the nation.
Loving God, as we strife to plant in our gardens to help sustain our livelihood, please help us to remember to put you first in all we do, think and say.
Loving God, as we acknowledge that we have not lived up to your Word, we are reminded of our Motto "In God We Stand". It is our prayer that you will help the people of Vanuatu to build their lives wisely. Help them to love and serve God and God only.
Loving Father, as we struggle with these confusing times, give us wisdom, courage and faith to run the race, to fight the good fight, and to keep the faith. Thank you for helping us to build each other up in love for eternity.
- Rosângela Oliveira, WDPIC Executive Director
Watch and share the additional resource videos created by WDPIC for the 2021 WDP program. They are now available on our Youtube channel. Like & Subscribe!