Easter GreetingPosted: April 12, 2020 Filed under: Bishop's Blog Comments Off on Easter Greeting
“Why are you looking among the dead for one who is alive? 6 He is not here; he has been raised.” Luke 24:5-6
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
My mind is filled with joy this morning as I imagine our pastors and congregations celebrating this day of Resurrection across the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences. Amid the unevenness of displaced congregations who cannot gather in our holy sanctuaries, you are finding your way. My heart is with you in this challenging time amidst the Covid 19 pandemic. I am praying for you.
In the midst of daily reports of sickness and death, we proclaim boldly, “He is not here! He has been raised from the dead!” When we look at the things we think of as losses—health, the economy, our limited freedom to move about, the physical distancing necessary to contribute to a healthy world—we look for hope.
Our hope is in the living Lord, Jesus Christ. It is in that hope, in spite of this pandemic and economic challenge, that we find our way. The hope we proclaim is that in the midst of this chaos of our current normal, Christ comes. Let us bring this hope to those we serve. Indeed, may this be a time for a greater witness to what God in Christ is doing in the midst of our isolation and separation.
I confess that there are moments when my own anxiety raises its head if I think too long and hard about what might be unfolding. Yet, when I come to the Easter story and read it in light of this Covid-19 pandemic, I find myself being rooted and grounded in a larger Story that is life giving.
I hear echoing in my mind the words of one of our great hymns of Easter: “Easter People Raise Your Voices!”
Easter people, raise your voices, sounds of heaven in earth should ring.
Christ has brought us heaven’s choices; heavenly music, let it ring:
“Alleluia! Alleluia!” Easter people, let us sing.
Fear of death can no more stop us from our pressing here below.
For our Risen Lord empowers us to triumph over every foe.
Alleluia! Alleluia! On to victory now we go.
Every day to us is Easter, with its resurrection song.
When the cares of life o’erwhelm us, Easter people, sing this song:
“Alleluia! Alleluia!” Everlasting triumph song.
I remember years ago, hearing a sermon preached by Dr. Fred Craddock. His theme was the coming of the Messiah. He told the story of growing up hearing preachers proclaim that “when the Messiah comes there won’t be any more suffering.” After serving as a pastor and experiencing the pain and suffering of persons he served, he came to understand this truth: “Where there is suffering, pain, grief and heartache, there, THERE is the Messiah.”
This Easter, perhaps more so than any other in our lives, the risen Christ comes. He comes even now to the very places where we are sheltering. He comes to our hospitals and nursing homes to be a healing, comforting presence.
Indeed, We are Easter people!
We are not alone.
God is with us.
Jesus goes before us.
Indeed, He is Risen! Alleluia!
Thanks be to God who walks with us.
Always and in all ways.
 William Marceus James (1913-2013) wrote “Easter People, Raise Your Voices” for his congregation at Metropolitan Community United Methodist Church in New York City.
The great text by this African-American Methodist minister, who served in Harlem for many years, was written in 1979.