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Bishop John's Easter Greeting 2024

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

As the season of Lent soon draws to a close and we enter into Holy Week, we begin to start to turn our eyes and ears with some intentionality to the celebrations of Easter. I do not want to rush this too much as it is so important for our own spiritual pilgrimage to walk from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday into Good Friday and then enter the Vigil of Easter. But if we know the story, we cannot help but look a little further along and anticipate what is ultimately the central pillar of the Christian faith: the resurrection of Jesus.

In the Gospel of John, the description of the first Easter morning is about Mary Magdalene coming to the tomb in the darkness before the sun had broken the horizon. When she arrived, she saw that the stone had been removed. So she ran to find other disciples to tell them of this. She met Peter and one other and told them what had happened. They ran to the scene to see for themselves.

A little later, Mary Magdalene is back at the tomb and encounters the risen Christ. She sees him, speaks to him, wants to reach out to him, wants to fully encounter him. She rushes back to the disciples to tell them all about what she has witnessed: “I have seen the Lord!”

Mary Magdalene reveals what is important for us disciples of this day to pay attention to as well. We need to tell others about the good news, we need to let others know that new life exists, we need to be bearers of and witnesses to the breadth of God’s love. Like Mary, we need to experience the Easter Gospel in community, not simply on our own. For it is good news that goes far beyond our personal relationship with God and is a message of hope for all people.

Mary Magdalene knew that part of having faith in new life, resurrection and God’s love for this world was not simply to hold onto it for herself. She knew that she was called to spread the word. She knew that she was to tell others that death was not the end, that light could shine out of darkness, that we are invited into a closer relationship with the one
who first breathed life into us.

The message of Easter is not intended to be kept to ourselves. It speaks to a greater relationship of God with all of humanity and the cosmos itself. It speaks of our hope that God is known to us and is in our midst. It speaks of Jesus’ connection with our lives and our living. Easter speaks to all situations in our world, whether the war in Gaza, the famine in South Sudan, the climate emergency, drug overdoses in British Columbia or reconciliation in this country. As Christians we are changed because of this Easter Gospel. We know of God’s love and that we are called to live into it and live it out. We are called to be resurrection people, like Mary Magdalene, for we too have seen the Lord. Like her, we cannot be the same. Like her we have good news to share.

Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!