Grace to you, and peace, in the name of our crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ!
Dear sisters and brothers: as we begin the holiest week of our Christian year and approach the great three culminating days of Holy Week, let us do so with the confidence and assurance that comes from doing it together—not just as congregations, but as part of a great church.
Gathered together with people of every race and language, as part of the great Christian community that extends around the globe and through all time, we in our congregations are also a part of Holy Week’s great story of love and sacrifice, suffering and love.
We sit at the table with Jesus on Thursday, and share the meal, and learn that we are to serve one another and the world. On Friday, we climb the skull-shaped hill and witness a love so great and so dear that it will cost Jesus his life.
And then, the silence falls. A night and a day of emptiness. Night falls again; but as the shadows gather, a spark of light appears, and grows into a flame. A single flame that then divides into many flames, and whose light spreads through our church, through the city, and across the world. And we awaken again into a new day, a day like any other—and yet entirely new.
“Alleluia! Christ is risen!” is sunrise song, and we rejoice in knowing that the life of the Risen One is our life too—knowing that the promise of life in Christ that was made at our baptism, is ours, with Christ, forever. This is most certainly true. We are an Easter people, and we live in the sure and certain promise that God’s reign over us and all creation will be fulfilled in the healing of the nations and the unity of all.
This Easter, though, we add to our joy in the resurrection an element of sorrow for the brokenness in our world. We pray for peace in a world that is riven by war; for safety of children in places of danger and starvation. We pray for calm in the face of anger and division, for kindness instead of cruelty and violence; and for generosity of spirit instead of grasping selfishness and callous indifference.
But in all the conflict around us, we give thanks to God for the light of Christ, the light that goes forth from the darkness of the tomb on Easter morning to light up even the darkest corners of our world. We give thanks for the light of Christ that lightens our way, drives out evil, and illumines paths of justice in our society. As Easter people, we turn our faces toward the dawn that breaks from on high, and which guides our feet into the ways of peace.
May your Holy Week and Easter celebrations together be a blessing to you and to the world through you. May the light of Christ fill your hearts with hope and your lives with renewed love. May the new day of Easter be a new day for all who suffer, and may it bring peace to our world.
In the name of the one who died and rose again, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.