Alleluia, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!
Grace to you and peace from the risen Christ!
Saint Teresa of Avila said, “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
Friends, everything we are experiencing in this pandemic is new. There is no instruction manual for what to do in a situation like this. What has given me and the staff hope are the ways in which you are living out Saint Teresa’s quote. You are being Christ’s risen body in the world through the masks you are making, the food you are donating, the time you are giving, and the connections you are making through phone calls, emails, and texts and social media. The Holy Spirit is using you to share the love and light of Christ with those around you. We thank God for you and for the ways you are demonstrating what it means to be the church. Everything you are doing is a powerful witness to the risen Christ to an anxious and hurting world.
While this year’s observance of Holy Week and celebration of Easter was not what we hoped for, we are continually reminded that we are not alone. We are the body of Christ. We are in this together.
I hope you will join me in giving thanks to God for the heroic efforts of our hospital workers, grocery store employees, truck drivers, first responders, postal carriers, and a host of other people who are helping us to sustain us in these uncertain times. We know you will join us in continuing to pray for those who take care of our congregations our pastors, deacons, and lay worship leaders.
The days can be long and frustrating. Do not lose hope. Now, more than ever, it is important to remember who and whose we are. Jesus called and claimed you in the waters of baptism. His resurrected life lives in you. Even though we cannot be together physically, we can be of one heart and mind as we pray for strength and courage to meet each day and be thankful for the moments of joy that break in to our lives in ordinary ways.
We also invite you to use this time to turn and return to God. These weeks of waiting offer ample opportunity to pray, to read Holy Scripture, and to take time to rest in the presence of our God who is with us always. Christ is always right beside us. He is welcoming us to turn to him. Please use these moments to pray for our world, to pray for our neighbors, and to be reminded of the presence of Jesus Christ.
May the peace and presence of Christ be made real to you this day and always.
Living in the hope of the risen Christ,
The Allegheny Synod Staff,
Bishop Michael, Pastor Becca, Pastor Paula and Michelle.