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Karen’s Column - A Courageous Easter Story

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Posted: Tue, 19th Mar 2013

I’m not sure if courage is something that comes naturally to mind for many of us as we celebrate Easter; but a frightening experience I had years ago has given me a new appreciation for courage at Easter time.

While doing my nursing training and living in the strictly “female only nurses quarters” at Royal Brisbane Hospital, I was woken suddenly in the night by piercing screams. As I awoke, I realised the screams were coming from one of the nurses who was being dragged down our corridor by some men. I froze in bed. “Let me go, let me go”, she screamed. And then I’d hear the dragging sound and men saying things like, “Hold her legs, stop her kicking” and then more thumps and dragging sounds. I heard a gruff voice say “Get someone else” and then loud banging started on my door. I was 18, I was alone and I was absolutely petrified. Men were never allowed in the girl’s quarters back then but the security guard had knocked off at midnight. Somehow these men had entered our halls and were abducting nurses!

They did not break my door down, I did not get abducted, but I shook for hours and my teeth chattered in fear. My colleague had been taken; they had wanted to take more of us and I was too afraid to step out of my room to help her.

You may have heard the timeold saying, “There are no atheists in fox-holes”. That saying was coined during the war when our dear young soldiers would find themselves taking cover in holes from enemy attacks and calling out to God to save them. When one’s life is in danger it seems the universal response is to call out to God for help. I was no different. I asked God to save that nurse and save me. A lot of things ran through my mind during that long, sleepless night but the thought I remember clearly was this: “Jesus, when you were terrified at Easter time in the garden of Gethsemane because you knew they were going to kill you, you didn’t leave, you didn’t run away. Instead you willingly entered into that suffering for me!”

Easter is the time we celebrate a death, which seems so weird if you don’t get it. Jesus didn’t die because he was trapped; he didn’t die because he was guilty of a crime. He died because he chose to give himself to stand in our place. Like if I had said to those men in the nurses’ corridor, “Take me instead of her!” Jesus said to God the Father, ‘Take me instead of them’ and paid the price for the whole world’s wrongs, so that boundless forgiveness could be available to us all.

That’s why we celebrate a death at Easter, because it is our path to forgiveness. And we celebrate life at Easter, because Jesus came alive and proved he was eternal by revealing himself to thousands of witnesses. He defeated death! Easter is why we have hope at funerals and why billions of people the world over believe there is life after death and heaven is real. What Jesus achieved at Easter gives us hope, life, forgiveness and eternity - so much more than chocolate!

So as you consider how to make this Easter special, here are a few ideas:

Wishing you an Easter filled with love, hope and meaning,

Karen Moreton
Chaplain

Important footnote: God did answer my prayer about that nurse. In the morning when we reported it we discovered that she had been so drunk that her friends were afraid for her safety. They had carried her to the emergency department where she was admitted to hospital. They banged on my door hoping for some help. Whoops!


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