Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Easter Message (ECCT Bishops)

Practice Resurrection

In his poem: "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front" the poet Wendell Berry invites the reader to "practice resurrection." Practicing resurrection is about living boldly the new life Jesus wills for us in the joy of Easter as we proclaim, "Alleluia. Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen indeed! Alleluia." Berry's line reminds us that new life, resurrection, is not only about embracing the joy of God who forgives our sins, it's about calling us to live a new way as well -- the way of Christ's healing love.

Healing and new life is Christ's gift to us as we practice resurrection. It's the call of discipleship: wrapping ourselves in God's love as we come to the risen Jesus. It is the call of apostleship: living the good news of the resurrection -- with our families, our friends, our colleagues, and our communities. Practicing resurrection, we invite others to know God's abiding love and healing peace, manifest through our words and actions. We practice sharing the love, forgiveness and healing love that God offers to us.

Practice presupposes that sometimes we will hit the wrong notes or miss the goal. Practice also means that we continue to try, continue to build a habit. Practice is hard work; it involves missteps, many coaches, and teammates trying, succeeding, and missing as well. Practicing resurrection invites all of us to work together for a common goal: the sharing of Christ's healing love.

The landscape for this practice of sharing Christ's healing love is the complicated and challenging world around us -- a landscape filled with division, political tensions, and fear. In this country, members of the LGBTQ community, persons of color, and refugees and immigrants, in particular, fear for their safety and security. Many around the world share this fear as we live into a time of global unrest. The ongoing war in Syria, and bombings of Christian churches in Egypt, remind us of the power of hate, and the terror and fear that violence enacts on all of us. Practicing resurrection means seeking to be voices of Christ's healing love in places of brokenness, and death. Practicing resurrection means seeking to be voices of safety and rest for people whose fears for today paralyze any imagination for tomorrow.

Practicing resurrection, sharing Christ's healing love, is hard work. In the anxiety of the cry of the cross and the ache of the stone in front of the tomb, we are called to name and join with others to practice something different -- a new way of being. Practicing in our words and actions the hope of new life and the joy of the resurrection. The Good News is that with God all things are possible. We must stay connected to God! Practicing resurrection means staying connected to Jesus, connected to the one who offers resurrection. With that power, we embrace and reveal the amazing and life-changing resurrection in a world longing to know that joy-filled, hope-filled, grace-filled truth of Christ's healing love for all.

"Alleluia. Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen indeed! Alleluia."

The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop Diocesan
The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan

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