Presiding Bishop's Easter Message
Resurrection - Andrea Mantegna
O God, who for our redemption didst give thine only-begotten Son to the death of the Cross, and by his glorious resurrection hast delivered us from the power of our enemy; Grant us so to die daily from sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through the
same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
There is a new and abiding sense of wonder that greets us on Easter morning. Something strange and very different has happened in the world; something so astonishing we just cannot grasp it. We can sense it, even if we cannot yet describe it. Even if the moment is beyond our grasp, we embrace the joy of Easter Day with great enthusiasm. We shout out the familiar phrases: “He is Risen; the Lord is Risen indeed!” We sing: “The strife is o'er, the battle done, the victory of life is won.” We know the words. Many of us have sung the hymns since we became old enough to know about words and music. Yet, even as we participate in the grand and timeless rituals, that strange and abiding sense of wonder lingers in our hearts and minds.
It all begins with the question: where is Jesus? We believe we know. We have watched the sad and tragic story of holy week unfold before us. We have watched as the God of our creation was condemned and put to death. He has died and was buried. Today, we follow the few mourners who have come to the tomb at first light. They find that the tomb is empty. The stone has been rolled away. And the body of Jesus is gone. Perhaps it had been stolen. It is a logical explanation; the only explanation that really makes sense. And yet, there are other possibilities; possibilities we have never considered. Until now. Where, then, is Jesus?
As the light reaches into the empty tomb, we gather up our courage to look inside. We had expected a place of death, a dark place that held all our fears. Yet, as we look into that space, a profound transformation begins to take place within us. We are surprised that our expectations have been so wrong. The tomb is truly empty. Jesus has taken away all our fears , all our notions about death.
It is Easter morning. The world has changed. This transformation has come about because God has willed it so. Sin and death have been overcome. We begin to understand. Beyond all the theological words written about salvation, the atonement and the grace of God, we know in our hearts that this day is about the fullness of God's love for us. It is the power of a love unknown, a love brought to us by Jesus, a love that embraces us in all its fullness this Easter morning, a love that says to us: I will be with you always, even to the ending of the world.
Christ is risen! Christ is risen today! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Your Brother in Christ, +Brian