"Discover, Remember, Reflect, Rejoice:" Bishop Reed's 2023 Easter Message
"Love’s the only house big enough for all the pain in the world."
(Love's the Only House, by Martina McBride)
"God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Dear Friends in Christ,
As we come to Palm Sunday and Holy Week, we are joining again the slow, measured pilgrimage to the heart of the Christian faith. As we follow Jesus through the biblical landscape, all four Gospels are leading us to Jerusalem and the Cross. Plenty of scholars regard everything else in the Gospels as prelude to the events of Holy Week, and specifically to the Crucifixion.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son…” (John 3:16)
“(Christ) did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, assuming human likeness.” (Philippians 2:6-7)
“The Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
The way in which Christ’s Passion and Death become the means of salvation are endlessly a mystery, but a mystery that draws us in to discover, to remember and reflect on our lives, and ultimately, to rejoice in our Lord’s victory over death. During the events of Holy Week, we see the heights and depths of our shared human experience and witness God’s persistent and enduring love in response to it.
Almost all of our churches keep Holy Week by offering additional worship services, from the procession on Palm Sunday until the Alleluias of Easter. This week reveals our Church at its best and truest, when we do not shy away from the reality of our sin and brokenness, nor do we surrender to the worst of times. The Gospel is proclaimed—never as ancient story, but as “breaking news”—, and we are clearly revealed to be participants, not spectators, in this saving movement of our God.
I encourage you to make time this week and find your way to “extra” worship services, for your own sake as well as for the sake of your church and the world. Find your self in the story of God and us that unfolds in Word, prayer, song, and sacraments.
Let your presence in worship be the offering of yourself, so that you might receive anew the life-giving love of our Lord and participate in his self-offering. Let us wholeheartedly join in the Holy Week pilgrimage, so that when Easter dawns, we’ll be ready—really ready—to join our community in singing for our lives, and for the life of the world: “Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen, indeed! Alleluia!”
Love in the risen Christ,
Bishop of West Texas
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