News and Views

Living the Resurrection

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Hallelujah! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed! There is joy in those words as we enter the sanctuary that we exited on Good Friday, which was then draped in black and is now adorned with lilies and bright colors. It’s exhilarating. The long Lenten journey always culminates in the celebration of Easter and the reminder that death, empire and corrupt conspiring do not have the last word. 

And yet, this Easter feels different. There is celebration, but there is also lingering grief. There is joy, but the sorrow is still palpable. There are lilies and beautifully decorated eggs, but the debris that became our reality on March 26, when the Key Bridge collapsed, is still visible. Christ is risen. And, the pain of our broken world is profound. Perhaps this is exactly the tension we should be confronting as we gather in the Light of Easter.

In our world today, brokenness is all too apparent. We witness it in the cries of the oppressed, the hopelessness in the faces of children mired in poverty or war, and the wounds of injustice that scar our world. This brokenness does not magically disappear on Easter Sunday, nor fade away in Eastertide as we remove the dressings from the altar. It remains for all who have eyes to see.

The deep message of Good Friday is that God does not abandon us in our suffering and pain. The cross stands as a stark reminder of the depths of human depravity, not God’s divine will. God does not ordain this suffering, but God will not leave us alone in our most vulnerable, agonizing moments. God is with us. God is with us, and God loves us. The message of Good Friday is not that God caused or causes suffering. There is nothing redemptive in suffering for suffering’s sake. Rather, the message is that God will never abandon us. The bond between Creator and creation cannot be broken. It cannot be broken by human hubris, lust for power, tyranny, or any other machinations of man. God is with us.

I resonate with the words of G. Sujin Pak, dean of Boston University School of Theology, when she writes, “To be an Easter people is not to be a triumphal conquering people. To be Easter people is to be a people of compassion and radical love who stand in the gap between Good Friday and Easter, vigilant to be fully present to and for one another, to see and not look away, to walk with the wounded, remain with the weary, and witness to resurrection.”

As United Methodists, we are called to live in the tension between brokenness and hope -- to acknowledge the reality of suffering while holding steadfastly to the promise of resurrection. This tension challenges us to embrace our vulnerability and stand in solidarity with those who are marginalized and oppressed. It calls us to cultivate empathy and compassion, recognizing the inherent worth and dignity of every human being. And, it compels us to act with courage and conviction, working to dismantle systems of injustice and build communities of love and inclusion. Easter people are present for and with one another, in a bond of unbreakable love. This is how we live the resurrection.

Blessings and peace,

Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling
Baltimore-Washington and Peninsula-Delaware Conferences
The United Methodist Church