The Rt. Rev. Daniel Gutiérrez. XVI Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. A Revolutionary Diocese.
Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 1 John 3:18
We are in living in our awareness of Easter. We proclaim He is Risen because it is the truth. The landscape is awash in color, the buds on the trees are opening, and the streams are flowing. Spring reminds us of new life after a long, dark season. This promise, the inner knowing, and the subsequent truth occur each year. Similarly, we are assured that the tomb has been overcome and Christ is with us.
In the midst of this Easter fulfillment, as disciples of Christ, we must live into the truth. Easter is not simply a day or a season of the Church, it is how we are called to live our lives every moment of the day. When we do so, each day provides a new opportunity to encounter Jesus. Each day offers the chance to discover life in a new way. Each day is a new opportunity to experience life in Christ.
During this time, I ask that we approach our faith differently. Let us celebrate the truth of the Risen Christ. Let us look upon everyone through his eyes and see the humanity, the beautiful humanity, of each and every person. Let us meet the world and one another in a new way and frame it in love; looking upon all people not as things, adversaries, nor obstacles, but companions in our journey.
This is a sacred time of transformation; a chance to engage in painful discussions and approach challenging situations as opportunities rather than setbacks. How often we look at life, conflicts, or disagreements in terms of what we have to lose instead of what we have to gain. Yet when we can shift our perspective it offers us a glimpse of the Kingdom.
We can change relationships and interactions based on our actions. Where we actually put love into action rather than simply talk about it in some abstract concept. From now until Pentecost, I ask that you take 1 minute out of every hour. Set an alarm to remind you and use that time to focus only on Jesus. Ask him to lead you. Call upon him. Say his name.
Then in each situation, with your family, friends, and strangers, take a moment and attempt to see their beautiful humanity and look for the Christ within them. God’s divine eyes are filled with love and look upon everyone as beloved children, sees them in their unique beauty. Why can’t we do the same? Let us abandon our assumptions, tribalism, and barriers. Let us awaken new life in our hearts.
Once we look at one another as siblings, our eyes will open to see their incredible beauty, the beauty God intended. When we see them this way, peace, hope, life, and love will touch one person at a time, one act at a time. Perhaps then, we can understand what it truly means to live “on earth as it is in heaven.” Easter is not just a day or a season but is to be lived because the resurrection is the truth. It is there we find the hope of new life in our lives and in the world. He is Risen!
Please continue to journey with us as we live into the promise of new life, both as Christians and as this Body of Christ called the Diocese of Pennsylvania.