The Rt. Rev. Daniel Gutiérrez. XVI Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. A Revolutionary Diocese.
But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him.
Alleluia, He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed. Alleluia. After a long, cold, and snow-filled winter, signs of new life are evident in our landscape.
Easter reminds me of something that is intimately connected to the depth of my faith, the intensity of hope. This Easter, let us not lose this perspective. We have endured a challenging and painful year. Despite the challenges, we hoped upon hope, dreamed, prepared, and acted. Think of what we have learned, how we have grown stronger since Easter of 2020.
This Easter, hope continues to spring forth from the truth that Christ is Risen and with us as we take our next steps forward. Like the light of life found in the empty tomb, we discard the linens of despair and dream as to how we further our Lord’s kingdom in the years to come. Do not hope for too little.
The light of Easter is the knowing that when Jesus walked out of that tomb on Easter morning, he did not walk out alone. He grasped our hands into his and took all of us with him into a new light, a new day, into a new life. The love of Christ brings his life to our lives - the message of Easter.
All along the way he is telling us, you are good, beautiful, and loved. When the world tells us we are not worth it, Jesus says you are mine. When we cannot take another step, Jesus tells us we are strong. When people say you do not belong, he says sit by our side. Look up and catch the rays of the rising sun, listen to the song of the birds and the beauty of our prayers and be reminded of the glorious truth, he has truly Risen.
In the same way, our churches are being reborn through bold acts of innovation and faith. We are combatting poverty in ways unimaginable 12 months ago. This revolutionary diocese is proclaiming the Good News as a beloved family of God. He is Risen. This Easter discerns what light you will bring to the world through your life and service to God. Ask yourself, “what story will you tell of God?” And, what new person will you share it with?
Be kind to someone who is not expecting it, forgive, reach out to someone alone or invite someone to a service (on Zoom or in-person). Take an extra 15 minutes of your day, pray and spend them with our Lord (it is worth it). Don’t ever forget that the Christ who is among us is brilliant in his various disguises. Jesus loves surprising us, and you never know when he will appear or whom he will be disguised as.
I deeply believe in Jesus Christ and the promise to be with us. I deeply believe in the Love of God. All will be well. Never stop dreaming, hoping, and acting in His name. Never stop loving God and one another because “Love is stronger than death.” Love is all that remains.
Our message as a diocese is the Easter message - Jesus Christ is Risen. Let us greet a new day, new life, and new world, with joy. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming. Alleluia, He is Risen. He is risen indeed.