Wednesday, April 5th, 2023
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Easter Sunday is filled with hope, joy and the promise of new life. From the depths of our being we proclaim, “Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!” However, that joy, hope, and new life should not lessen as the days pass. We have the sacred opportunity to change the way we approach the Lord and one another. As we celebrate this most sacred day, let us be intentional, let us be sacredly present, let us renew our faith.
So that we may stay present within the light of the resurrection, set aside three minutes, three times a day. to pray or just speak to our Lord. Nine minutes out of 24 hours to go deeper with God.
During Lent, I asked the faithful to reflect on a series of questions. One of them was if church – your church – is a place of unconditional belonging and love, even for those who we may consider “different.”
As people of faith, seek out people you don’t know in church during the peace, or during coffee hour. Take that step and go out of your way to make a newcomer or stranger feel like they belong in your church.
Do we ever consider if being subject to judgment – even if it is subtle - is why people don’t come back to church on other Sundays? Let’s change and be present and open to all who walk through our doors.
Jesus refused to exclude anyone as he taught us that everyone belongs. His love and care for the “least of these,” was so deep, his love for us so profound, that he willingly sacrificed his life and God raised him from the dead revealing the great and eternal truth … everyone finds true belonging in the arms of his Father.
This Easter, as we gather to celebrate the resurrection, let’s embody that love. Together, let’s see with the eyes of Christ and seek out someone you have never met before, welcome the stranger, help the outcast find acceptance and belonging. As you gather with people you may not have seen since last year, you have a unique opportunity to show forth the love of Jesus Christ and the joy and hope of this resurrection. This Easter let’s not settle for just going to church. Let’s be the Body of Christ!
The Rt. Reverend Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez
XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania