Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba’s 2023 Easter Message
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
I greet you all in the name of our crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ!
Paul says in his letter to the Galatian Christians, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me.” (Gal 2.20-21).
Jesus is risen to empower me
The event that changed all of human history was the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many people have died. There is nothing unusual about death. But no one has ever risen from the dead, except Jesus Christ. Even our global calendar that defines this year as 2023 is centred on the person of Jesus Christ (AD).
Jesus does not only change history – he can change YOUR history; he can change YOUR life. When Christ lives in you, you receive supernatural empowerment from Jesus’ resurrection. He is alive in you and imparting to you His power – the same power that defeated death.
We extend our sincere sympathies to those who have lost loved ones since last Easter. Jesus’ resurrection this Easter gives us the hope that those who have died in Christ will also rise in Christ.
I want to speak to you today as a Father in God, and I want to speak about three things:
1. First, the matter of corruption: We talk and talk and talk about this challenge in our country, but nothing seems to change. There is no power greater than death. Corruption is a strong force, but it is not stronger than death…and Jesus has defeated death. More than that, He has risen to empower us to defeat the demon of corruption. The God who can defeat death and be raised from the dead to empower us is an all-powerful God. He is a God we should both love and fear. If we really feared this God who rose from the dead to empower us, we would not steal things that do not belong to us. We would not demand bribes, nor offer bribes. We would not take iron sheets we know were intended for the under-served in Karamoja. We would not steal things from people who have even less than us. How can you steal from your brother or sister when you fear God? It’s not possible.
In Luke Chapter 19:8, there is a story of a corrupt tax collector called Zaccheus who defrauded his people of money by overcharging. After encountering Jesus, he returned everything he had stolen and topped up with FOUR TIMES what he had stolen. For any of you who have taken anything that is not yours, I call upon you to return it and top-up with something extra. It does not have to be Zaccheus’ four times the amount. However, do top-up something. Corruption is a matter of personal integrity. It is a matter of greed and entitlement. But, it is far more than that. You must answer to a holy and all-powerful God. Do you fear Him? If you feared Him, you would trust that He has risen to empower you to follow the Bible’s command. Do the right thing and return whatever you have taken and add a top-up.
2. The second matter I want to address to you today as a Father in God is the challenge of sexual immorality in our country. I have phrased this challenge very deliberately as the “challenge of sexual immorality” – because it is not only homosexuality that is challenging us. But, heterosexual immorality is also challenging us. Fornication, defilement, rape and adultery are attacking our families, our souls, and our country. Homosexuality is currently a challenge because it is being forced on us by outside, foreign actors against our will, against our culture, and against our religious beliefs. They disguise themselves as “human rights activists,” but are corrupting real human rights by adding LGBTQI+ to their agenda. There have always been a few people in our communities who were known as homosexuals and the communities knew how to relate with them. The fact that very few of our local languages even have a word for homosexuality shows how it is not a part of our cultures and our communities. This is one of the areas where our culture is aligned with the Bible, which never speaks positively about homosexual relationships.
Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda and we appreciate Parliament in upholding that position. LGBTQ relationships should not be promoted in school curricula, in cartoons, in so-called “human rights workshops,” or any other forum as normative. There is no moral equivalence between LGBTQ relationships and lifelong, heterosexual, monogamous marriage. The Bible teaches, and scientific studies have shown, that children flourish when they are raised by both their mother and father, and with the presence, involvement, and support of their extended family. This is the African way; this is the Biblical way; and this is the way shown to us through natural law.
Those countries that legalized homosexuality a long time ago have seen a long-time decline in their population growth. In fact, many of those countries are now faced with the problem of “negative population growth.” Negative population growth leads to the collapse of countries, cultures, civilizations, and economies.
I urge the President to assent to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and ensure that Uganda does not set a legal precedent that will be difficult to overcome in the future. The LGBTQ-affirming countries have shown us the negative consequences. To surrender to their threats is to set Uganda on a path of self-destruction. Please, Your Excellency, protect us.
At the same time that we are dealing with outside pressure to accept homosexuality, we are also dealing with an internal pressure of our own rampant sexual indiscipline. Many of the people loudly protesting against homosexuality are quietly fornicating or betraying their spouse through Gender-Based Violence, adultery, or defiling their own children. Simply opposing the foreign imposition of homosexuality is not enough. We must also examine our own hearts and sexual greed.
Many people feel like they can’t control their sexual urges. It’s as if they are a slave to it and they must obey it with whoever is in front of them. My fellow Ugandans… as St. Paul said, “You have been crucified with Christ.” That old nature of yours does not have to continue to have power and control over you. It has been crucified with Christ. Then the Bible says, “It is Christ who lives in you.” Jesus has been raised from the dead to empower you to demonstrate the spirit of self-control and to live like Jesus. You can be “holy as Jesus is holy.”
Just as we oppose homosexuality, let us also oppose fornication, adultery, defilement, and Gender-based violence. This Easter, let us accept that Jesus was raised from the dead to empower us to live a life that honors him and ensures a strong future for our children and grandchildren. For those who have been caught up in the lies of homosexuality, fornication, and adultery, God wants to set you free from the bondage of those lies. Know that this Easter, Jesus is risen to empower you to be free from those lies and from those sins. It is possible to have that freedom because Jesus has given us the victory.
3. The third thing I want to address as a Father in God is the transformation of our minds. Too many of us are stuck in the mindset of poverty. The poverty mindset makes us believe that we have to take money from LGBTQ groups because we can’t manage without it. That’s a lie. The poverty mindset has meant many people now worship at the altar of mammon…the altar of money. They will do anything to get money; they will even sell their soul to get money. The Bible is very clear: “You cannot serve God and mammon.” You cannot serve God and money.
This Easter we see that Jesus was risen to empower us. To empower us to cast off the poverty mindset. To empower us to take whatever we have in our hand and use it for something productive that will benefit our families and communities.
How I wish those fraudsters who cheat people from their mobile money would channel their creativity and skill into something beneficial rather than something destructive. How I wish that the computer hackers who hack into bank accounts and steal from people would direct their skills into developing an app that would tutor our children or bring the resources of urban health care deep into our villages.
Jesus has been raised to empower us to overcome the poverty mindset and empower us to do something productive with what He has given us. The international donor community has threatened to withdraw funding if Uganda exercises its sovereign right to regulate our country according to God’s created order of male and female, united in marriage, for their mutual support and the procreation of children. If they follow through on that threat, then we will need empowered Ugandans through the resurrection power of Jesus to overcome the poverty mindset and develop our country. For God and my country.
We send Easter greetings to the President of Uganda, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his dear wife, Mama Janet, to all Members of Parliament and local governments, and to the members of the Judiciary.
I also greet all the Bishops and their wives, the Clergy, Lay Readers, and Christians of the Church of Uganda. I especially congratulate the Dioceses and their new Bishops who have been consecrated since the beginning of this year – North Karamoja, Mukono, North Kigezi, and Muhabura. We also congratulate Luweero Diocese and their Bishop-elect. After a number of years of planning and preparation, we congratulate Ruwenzori Diocese and, especially the Christians of Bundibugyo, in carving out the 38th Diocese in the Church of Uganda – the Diocese of West Ruwenzori. The first Bishop will be consecrated in August. We urge all Christians in Dioceses experiencing leadership transition to go through the nomination and election process peacefully, decently, and in order.
Finally, I send my sincere greetings, along with prayers for a blessed Holy Week and glorious Easter for our Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Pentecostal brethren, and to all those who have put their trust and faith in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ.
This Easter, as families and as a country, may we all know that Jesus is risen to empower us, especially to empower us to overcome corruption; to empower us to overcome sexual immorality in all its forms; and to empower us to overcome the poverty mindset.
A blessed Easter to you all!
The Most Rev Dr Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu
Archbishop of Church of Uganda