Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Message

Easter Message 2011
By The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle

Romans 8.24
For in hope we were saved…

As we make our way to Easter Sunday morning we are mindful of our brother and sister Episcopalians and Anglicans worldwide. We are mindful of those who still suffer from economic and health cost of our own system’s failings. We are mindful of those suffering from the recent storms which moved through the country. We are mindful of our neighbors who continue to pull themselves from the ruble and rebuild after quakes in Haiti, New Zealand, Myanmar and Japan.

The Easter 2011 Gospel is from Matthew 28:1-10 and in it both the angel of the Lord and the risen Christ are clear: the women and the disciples are to go to Galilee.  In Matthew’s Gospel Galilee is where the action is.  In Galilee they are to be given the great commission.  The Easter message is clear go to where the mission is; go to where the ministry is. Go and meet God there in the form of the risen Christ in friend and neighbor, in brother and sister. 

Worship God out in the world. Celebrate the risen Lord by aiding people with their doubt and with their seeking a living God; you have a role in helping others to find hope, experience hope, and live in hope.

The message is clear you are to love and act for the good of our neighbor. To love and forgive as God forgives – generously. (Not as a quid pro quo; not as we desire people will do for us) The resurrection is an event that was reserved for the end of human history, but it has happened in the midst of human history – the kingdom of God has broken into this world.

This it seems to me is the proclamation of Easter Sunday - Jesus is raised for a purpose.  This resurrection is an apocalyptic event, a life changing, a world re-creating event, for those who experience it.

Every act of humility, hospitality, and kindness done because we follow the risen Christ and serve him through the power of the Holy Spirit, every work of true creativity – doing justice, making peace, healing families, healing individuals, resisting temptation, seeking and winning true freedom for those who are voiceless and powerless – is an earthly event in a long history of things that implement Jesus’ own resurrection and anticipate the final new creation and act as signposts of hope.” (Surprised by Hope, 293-294)

Jesus resurrection is not about our dying and what happens next; it is about our living and what we can do today.

The empty tomb, the message of the angel and Jesus to go towards life and mission, is about the remaking of the world around us. 
Pope Benedict in his Encyclical on Hope wrote that, “the Christian message [of hope] was not only ‘informative’ but “performative”. That means: the Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known—it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing. The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life. (Encyclical Letter, Spe Salvi, ¶2)

Our lives are shaped in a new way for the sake of the kingdom of God for the sake of others.
Our celebration of Easter reminds us of the hope we have, and how our hope might buoy up those in need, and how our actions empowered by hope may be vessels of God’s grace and love to a world that is all too often hurting and in pain. 

The gospel message of Easter is clear: we are to go. We are to go with hope and meet Jesus at home in our families, in our neighborhoods, at our workplaces, or in a place far far away.  We are to go to Galilee. We are to go and build up God’s kingdom of hope. Our risen Lord Jesus Christ already goes before us and will meet us there. Christ is risen! Christo anesti!

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  • "Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a life and a living process." Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • "Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer." Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • "Perfection, in a Christian sense, means becoming mature enough to give ourselves to others." Kathleen Norris
  • "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." John Wesley
  • "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." G. K. Chesterton
  • "One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans." C. S. Lewis
  • "When we say, 'I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,' we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the church seldom asks us for forgiveness." Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
  • "Christians are hard to tolerate; I don't know how Jesus does it." Bono
  • "It's too easy to get caught in our little church subcultures, and the result is that the only younger people we might know are Christians who are already inside the church." Dan Kimball