Presiding bishop’s Easter message: ‘Give thanks for Easter’

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] “Give thanks for Easter,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori says in her Easter 2012 message. “Give thanks for resurrection. Give thanks for the presence of God incarnate in our midst.”

The presiding bishop’s message on video is here.

She also noted, “In this Easter season I would encourage you to look at where you are finding new life and resurrection, where life abundant and love incarnate are springing up in your lives and the lives of your communities.”

The following is a transcript of the presiding bishop’s Easter message.

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Easter 2012

One of my favorite Easter hymns is about greenness. “Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain.”

It goes on to talk about love coming again. It’s a reminder to me of how centered our Easter images are in the Northern hemisphere. We talk about greenness and new life and life springing forth from the earth when we talk about resurrection.

I often wonder what Easter images come in the Southern hemisphere, and I think that the church in the south has something to teach us about that.

I was in Japan a month or so ago, and visiting the area of Japan that was so affected by the tsunami and the aftermath of the earthquake. The earth there is — was at that point — largely colorless, brown, in the middle of winter. No greenness. But at the same time the work of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, the Japanese church in that part of Japan, has brought a great deal of new life, life abundant for people who have been devastated and displaced, who are still mourning their loss of loved ones, the loss of their homes and employment.

New life comes in many forms, even in seasons that seem fairly wintry.

As we began Lent, I asked you to think about the Millennium Development Goals and our work in Lent as a re-focusing of our lives. I’m delighted to be able to tell you that the U.N. report this last year has shown some significant accomplishment in a couple of those goals, particularly in terms of lowering the rates of the worst poverty, and in achieving better access to drinking water and better access to primary education. We actually might reach those goals by 2015. That leaves a number of other goals as well as what moves beyond the goals to full access for all people to abundant life.

In this Easter season I would encourage you to look at where you are finding new life and resurrection, where life abundant and love incarnate are springing up in your lives and the lives of your communities. There is indeed greenness, whatever the season.

Give thanks for Easter. Give thanks for resurrection. Give thanks for the presence of God incarnate in our midst.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Comments

  1. Paula Neville says:

    Where is any reference to Jesus, his suffering, death and resurrection? Has she forgotten what organization she heads? Lame at best.

  2. David D. Wells says:

    So very sad. The highlight of the Christian year- the celebration of the Paschal Mystery, the death and resurrection of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ – is relegated to a progress report on the UN MDGs. And if we’re talking about favorite hymns at this time of year, mine would have to be a rousing chorus of “Jesus Christ is Risen Today! Alleluia!”

  3. Thomas Andrew says:

    Give thanks for . . . Easter???? Paula is right, Easter is a secular holiday for rabbits and baskets and fashion parades. Where is the world’s Savior, the resurrected Messiah?

  4. Andy Hook says:

    Why is it so difficult for our Presiding Bishop to say the name ‘Jesus’? She said ‘resurrection’ 3 times and finally referenced God in the last few seconds but mainly focused on the Millennium Development Goals. Does Jesus not rate high enough to even be mentioned by our Chief Pastor? Are we a church or just another social justice organization?

  5. Louis Clark says:

    Is it too hard for the Presiding Bishop to mention the word JESUS? So deeply disappointed with this church…

  6. Doug Desper says:

    I can’t express what I think of this pantheistic statement that takes the place of the praise of Jesus Christ. Easter images? Greeness? This is more like a motivation memo to employees of the Department of Social Services.
    The election of bishops matters. We now number below 2 million…and we desperately need people who are unashamedly Christ-centered. General Convention – PLEASE sit up and take notice that we are, in fact, languishing for a lack of vision!

  7. Thomas Robb says:

    Easter isn’t the best time of season, a belief of mine, at least, the ascension is a reminder of what the human mind is, complete with verbal conviction of church and government, I prefer to forgive and work on commandments, by looking forward too Pentecost, Whitsunday, I particularly like When a Vigil of Pentecost is observed. We continue to receive through faith the promises of Almighty God, as as this does not stop through or because we remember Easter, eternal life to every race and nation, preaching of the Gospel, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, by the same Spirit to have Right judgement in all things. and since we always know that we are weaker as individuals and even as a large group, how weak we are without the Holy Spirit.

    Always present, Always guiding, Always faithful

  8. Bryan Hunter says:

    “It’s a reminder to me of how centered our Easter images are in the Northern hemisphere.” Yes, our Easter hymns are “centered” on the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and rightly so, unlike the PB’s blathering rant about the UN. Did someone inadvertently slip her the wrong job description? She does realize she was consecrated a bishop (just one among peers, I might add), not installed as the Secretary General of the UN, right? Furthermore, I missed that part in the gospels where it told us at what point in history the Great Commission was to be replaced with UN Millennium Goals. Is that in one of the gnostic gospels, perhaps (I’m a little rusty on those, I must admit), or something cooked up by Dan Brown?

    • Patricia Black says:

      As someone who has lived, not in the southern hemisphere, but close to the equator, I can appreciate Bishop Katherine’s statement. Many of our Easter hymns, in which we rejoice in the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, are also very much spring hymns. A few lines will suffice to make the point:
      Hymn 175: Lo, the fair beauty of earth, from the death of the winter arising
      Hymn 179: Earth her joy confesses, clothing her for spring…. days of lengthening light
      Hymn 199: Tis the spring of souls today…all the winter of our sins, long and dark is flying
      Hymn 211 The birds do sing on every bough

      Although the other hymns are not so specific, northern hemisphere Christians do associate Easter, for obvious reasons, with spring. It is thus important for us to understand how different it may feel to celebrate Easter in the southern hemisphere where the season is fall. Perhaps our southern hemisphere brothers and sisters can help us rejoice in Jesus’s resurrection even when our lives feel as dead as the fall leaves. That’s what the church in Japan is doing, and that is what we followers of Jesus do whenever we feed the hungry, visit those in prison, clothe the naked, and so on. It seems that the millenium development goals are necessary because whatever we do for the least of these our brethren, we do for Jesus.

  9. Oscar Price says:

    I am sadly reminded of Paul’s second epistle to Timothy in which Paul warns of a coming time “when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth.”

    The Bible tells us that the truth of a crucified and dead Jesus, who was then risen from the grave in a bodily resurrection, is foolishness to those who are perishing. The Bible also tells us that this truth is the power of God to those who are being saved. Do we, as a church, view this truth as the power of God? Or do we view Christ crucified and risen as a “foolishness” which may be omitted from Easter messages to enlightened, 21st century listeners?

  10. Julian Malakar says:

    Our Lord Jesus Christ surely would hesitate to remember our name at Judgment Day, if we hesitate to take His name, the most honored name in the world, in spreading His gospel of abundant life and life eternity achieved thru His blood and resurrection. Christ gave His life for our ignorance, so that we get abundant life with repentance and sin no more. Wish solemn Good Friday and happy Easter.

  11. Brad Howard says:

    Well said!

  12. David Halsted says:

    As a cradle Episcopalian, I find it remarkable that the PB is a Unitarian.

  13. Lise Cujar says:

    Matt 10:32 ” Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.”
    It sadly appears that our PB has forgotten or chooses to forget that this is the most holy day of the Christian year. One can only hope she repents before it is too late, because we are warned that leaders of the faith are held to a higher accountablility.

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