Bishop Middleton's Easter Message

Bishop Middleton's Easter Message

3/23/2016

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
 
Grace and Peace to you in this Easter season.

On March 8 and again on March 14, I spent several hours during long layovers in the Zaventem International Airport in Brussels while traveling to and from Sierra Leone. It is a beautiful, modern and serene facility. It is very passenger friendly. All of that changed in a moment on March 22, 2016, when two explosions wreaked unspeakable destruction on innocent people, killing and maiming dozens of women, men and children.
 
This is our world today. Too many live daily in harm’s way in war-torn countries, struggling for any sense of security as explosives and gun fire surround them, basic needs are absent and children know no safety. We live in a broken world in which terrorists commit heinous atrocities; others demean, dehumanize, and victimize those who are different from them; systems create enormous disparities between those of wealth and those struggling for just one meal; children suffer from curable diseases that strike down thousands daily.
 
Jesus Christ came into a world like ours. The circumstances for him were different, but very much the same. He was born in a country oppressed by Roman rule. He was constantly criticized by civil and religious authorities. Ultimately, Jesus was crucified.
 
But that is not the end of the story! The wonderful news of the resurrection is the promise that “nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus suffered every humiliation, punishment, even death and through it all he proclaims to us that the victory is ours.
 
The Resurrection proves that love and new life can come out of death and destruction. God redeems the worst humans can do—killing an innocent person—and brings a great victory out of seeming defeat. As people of the resurrection, let us claim the promise of new life in the midst of death!
 
Now, as much as ever, we need to hear anew the promise of love and new life that Easter offers. Let us sing our Easter “Alleluias” as God’s answer to the suffering, destruction and death that reigns in our world.  May we live into the good news that God’s eternal love is more powerful than any evil humans can commit.
 
My prayer is that your Easter will be a joyous celebration of light and love in the midst of the world’s darkness. And that as United Methodists, we will demonstrate by our deeds the reality of the Easter message of hope and healing made possible through Jesus Christ.
 
In Christ's love,

Bishop Jane Allen Middleton