An Easter Message from Our Bishops
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). John 20: 15-16
The exchange between Jesus and Mary in the garden is perhaps one of the most pastoral and loving images in all scripture. There is Mary, weeping at her loss, the depth of her grief is palpable and real. And then the Lord, the risen Lord speaks her name, “Mary.” You can hear his tone of love and hope reaching out to her. Do her tears of sadness turn to tears of joy? She sees the Lord, she hears his voice, she knows the Resurrection is true -new life, and new hope, a journey forward to God’s true future.
This past year we have all done a lot of weeping. We have wept at the loss of loved ones. We have wept during illness, grief, and confusion. We have wept as we watched essential workers risk their own personal safety to meet the needs of others. Some of us have been those vital, essential workers. We have wept at the loss of countless hopes and dreams -ours, those of our communities, and those of our churches. We have wept over the loss of hopes and dreams we have not yet been able to imagine. Some days we have just wept, not even knowing why.
We have wept at the injustices we have seen around us – the realities of food insecurity and the vulnerability of meeting basic human needs because of lost employment and/or economic insecurity. We grieve the deaths of those whose lives were taken by the realities of racism, white supremacy, and anti-black violence. Sadly, the deadly mix of racism, gun violence and misogyny was recently brought home to us in the killings in Atlanta, GA a short time ago; followed up by yet another gun violence tragedy in Boulder, CO last week. And just this week we are reminded of the murder of George Floyd as the trial of Derek Chauvin begins - and we weep again.
Into this world of despair and death, Jesus speaks his heart of love to us. He calls us by name. Each one of us - by name. Each one of us -known by him, loved by him. He is overjoyed at the mere existence of our being. We are his delight. And to his delight he offers the truth revealed in the Resurrection. New life, and new hope.
New life and new hope - we are buoyed up by a lightness where there has been weight before. Some of this lightness we feel in the new hope of vaccines. We see the possibility of new life in our ongoing commitment (albeit just the first few steps) to work against racial injustice. Let us not lose sight of the fact that the true lightness comes from God who is and the source of new life and new hope. The joy of the Resurrection is true. New life and new hope are ours because we walk with Jesus. There is indeed a new day and it is a new day with Jesus. May we embrace this walk with joy! May we seek always to follow the light of Jesus, to walk in that light, and to share that light with others in word and deed.
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