New life out of death

An Easter message from the Presiding Bishop by Katharine Jefferts Schori


I write at the close of our recent House of Bishops meeting. On the way from the airport to the meeting, we saw a few wildflowers, of one or two varieties. They stood out from the grass, just beginning to turn to the green lushness of spring. During the week we met in Texas, the trees went from mere hints of green in the topmost branches to having leaves unfolding on all their branches. And on the way back to the airport a week later, the riot of wildflowers was astounding. The new life of resurrection can be just as surreptitious -- we look and things seem quite dead, we look away, and when our focus returns, we discover that God has been at work making all things new. Anyone who has grieved the death of a loved one will recognize the pattern. Those who experience the loss involved in moving away from a beloved community will know it as well. As this Lent draws to a close, take a careful look at your life. Where has God been at work during this fast? What new life can you discern?

For my own part, I will celebrate the new life that has been growing hidden in the lives of leaders in this church. We are blessed with leaders, lay and ordained, who are ††increasingly aware of their God-given ministries to lead this people into fuller ††participation in Godís mission of healing the world. I celebrate the work of God expressed in the gathering of Anglican women at the United Nations in late February and early March, who were able to say to the world that attention to mission is what unites us as a Communion. I celebrate the gathering of people from all across the world in South Africa, at the TEAM (Towards Effective Anglican Mission) conference, to build stronger partnerships for doing that healing work, especially around AIDS and HIV. I celebrate the gracious way in which the bishops of this Church engaged each other in discussing challenging and difficult matters in the meeting just past, and affirmed the focus of this Church on mission. I celebrate the many, many healthy and vital congregations of this Church, engaged in Godís mission of healing the world. The Executive Council joined in worship at one, St. Michael and All Angels, in Portland, Oregon, recently, and saw passionate engagement in childrenís ministry, the work Episcopal Relief and Development, abundant outreach in the community, and a lively life of worship.

Among my mail when I returned to the office was a generous check from a congregation in North Carolina. Members there had read about a fire in the Bronx that had killed several members of an immigrant family from Mali, and left others injured and homeless. Somehow the news of their suffering had reached across the mountains and plains to touch the hearts of people of St. James in Wilmington, and they responded. A new heart of flesh is growing in countless places across this Church.

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!