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Bishop Love's Easter 2012 Message

An Easter Message from Bishop Love

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On Good Friday, Karen and I joined Fr. Scott Harding and about 60 other Christian pilgrims from the Church of the Messiah and a few other local Churches for a three hour, three mile walk praying the Stations of the Cross. It was a very powerful and moving experience retracing the steps of our Lord (as best we can some 2000 years later) following a large wooden cross not through the streets of Jerusalem, but through the streets of modern day Glens Falls. In many ways, we were participating in the past, present and future all at the same time.

As we walked along in the midst of traffic and the hustle and bustle of a Friday afternoon, I was trying to imagine what it must have been like for Jesus, having been severely beaten and whipped; mocked and cursed; rejected and spit upon; carrying the very cross that He would be crucified on as a sacrifice for the sins of all the world – for your sins and mine. Just thinking about the nails being pounded through His hands and feet sends chills down my spine. The physical, spiritual, emotional and mental agony He must have felt hanging on the cross, bearing all the sins of the world, is beyond comprehension.

Yet, despite all of the above, Jesus’ perfect love for God the Father and for the world never wavered. It was out of His total, unconditional, all sacrificial love that He freely offered Himself as the Paschal Lamb, the Atonement for the sins of the world. Our Lord Jesus Christ, died on the Cross in order that we may live, set free from the power of sin and death, becoming inheritors of His Heavenly Kingdom.

The empty tomb that greeted Mary and Peter and John that first Easter Sunday is a witness to Christ’s victory over all powers of darkness, sin and death. Jesus not only died for our sake, paying the price we are incapable of paying ourselves, but He also rose to new life, as a sign of His victory and the truth of His promise “that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

Sadly, there are many today who have gone to great lengths to try to downplay, explain away, or totally deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. To do so not only contradicts the resurrection accounts in Holy Scripture, but also fails to understand and appreciate the vital necessity of our Lord’s resurrection for the salvation of God’s people. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is and always has been central to the Christian faith. Christ’s resurrection and all that it accomplished is what we celebrate on Easter and each time we gather as the Body of Christ for Holy Communion around the altar.

As Paul reminds us, “…if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep...For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Cor. 15:17-21)

It is in this truth, that we can gather in confidence Easter Sunday with all the saints of every generation crying out for all the world to hear: “Alleluia, Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!”

In Christ’s Love,

+Bill

 

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