“From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ. So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message – have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God. Let every detail in your lives – words, actions, whatever –be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.”
Colossians 3:11-17 From The Message by Eugene H Peterson
Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ has Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!
This year I have an unusually powerful desire to begin the Easter Season worshipping at sunrise in the graveyard! It could be connected to my deep desire to sing out loud, “Jesus Christ is Risen Today,” and perhaps the graveyard is the only place where I can imagine doing that safely while we are still being cautious about not spreading the virus, or perhaps the graveyard is simply symbolic of the year of pandemic that we are moving through. But more profoundly this desire swells up within my heart as a clear picture and a calling for movement from death to life! To stand among graves is to stare at death and to sing this beautiful Easter hymn is to announce Christ’s victory over everything, including and most importantly death and the grave! This Easter that we celebrate is God’s gift of a brand new life! In Christ we are made new, “chosen for this “new life of love!” I’m taken with the image in the passage of scripture from The Message that is shared above – “regardless of what else you put on, wear love.”
I pray that the glory and gift of Easter will give each one of you the space to breathe deeply and to be renewed by the Good News that it is in Christ that we live! This new life comes to us as a gift of God’s grace even when we are still in the mess of life’s daily trials and tribulations. This new life in Christ Jesus draws us together and gives us insight into the calling to be the love and light of Jesus for the world around us even when the world is challenged by a pandemic that continues to bring so much fatigue, hurt and sorrow. May we wear love in our words and actions toward one another, and may we SING our hearts out to God in thanksgiving for this gift of new life in Christ Jesus.
Bishop Ginny Aebischer