Bishop’s Easter Message
He is Risen! He is Risen! The Lord is Risen indeed!
(Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24 & John 20)
The Easter Story always strikes us as a strange and mysterious event in the life of Jesus even for those of us whose faith is rooted and grounded in the resurrection of Jesus. This grand event is celebrated throughout the history of the Church in a spirit of overwhelming joy and happiness. In contrast to the first Easter Sunday that revealed a demonstration of colossal hysteria, confusion, and apathy on the part of frightened and disoriented people. The early church was, quite understandably so, trying to make sense of this new phenomenon in their simple uncomplicated lives and fragile faith. The Good News, “He is not here, but has risen” (Luke 24:6) was extremely difficult to comprehend much less respond to in some overwhelmingly excited way.
As disorientating and shocking as the first Easter day was for the first Christians, the early believers gradually began to acclimate themselves to the essence of its message. The Easter narrative reveals that they did so by remembering (zakar/anamnesis) Jesus’s words to them while he walked and ministered with them (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24 & John 20). The simple message of the resurrection moved them then, and us now, beyond our doubts, our fears, and our hesitation at believing the reality and purposefulness of God’s work in our lives and in our world. The dawn of this new day reveals the unspeakable testament of God’s love and desire to share life with us. A love that refuses to be constrained by a tomb.
God’s greatest act was to become human, to live and die, so that sin and suffering were and are defeated and Jesus reigns sovereign as Lord and Savior. This is what God chose to reveal in the mightiest sign of all – a sign of God’s commitment, God’s willingness to be present to us in all circumstances. It is the energy and inspiration behind God’s power to transform without force, rather, personal sacrifices.
What does this image present for the Church in our season and time? On this day, it is through God’s grace that we can exit the tunnels of pain, COVID 19 Virus, poor financial conditions, joblessness, food scarcity and hopelessness. On this day, it is through God’s grace that we can look out and see if the storm is over, and release some of the anger inside. On this day, through God’s grace, we can renew again the belief in the goodness of God and God’s creation. On this day, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ we must resolve to walk by faith confidently out of the darkness and into the light. On this day, we know that beyond chaos there is new hope and the breath of fresher air and new opportunities with greater prospects for the future. On this day we all are given the permission to rise again and believe in self and others as Christ our Savior believes in us. The darkness of a tomb has been transformed into the most gloriously magnificent light – “the new beginnings of God’s amazing grace which claims us”.
Easter is also a visible reminder that when we allow the Spirit the opportunity to breathe through the cracks of our broken lives, how much more we are able to enjoy healing, restoration, reconciliation and new reasons to live again and prosper as individuals and as a community of faith. I encourage the light of Easter be felt in every corner where any semblance of darkness is found.
In the Diocese of Easton, we are living into this resurrection experience; of moving from the tunnel of despair into the evergreen new and living hope Jesus’ spirit is scripting for his church on the eastern shore of Maryland. We are grateful to be part of a faith community committed to viewing the resurrection and transformation as central, with this faith affirmation as a guiding ‘mantra’ or ‘refrain’.
Christ is our Lord risen today and for all times and seasons! May we all take this as a sign of personal victory and go forward renewed and re-energized. Boldly and proudly lifting high the banner of the risen Christ whose love has conquered all pain and sorrow with the gift of spiritual freedom in the new life he offers for all humanity. He is Risen! He is Risen! The Lord is Risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen!!
Beloved, a happy and joyful Easter to all!
+San & Lynn