Dear Beloved in Christ:
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Hallelujah! Christ is Risen!
“Peace be with you!” (John 20:19 and John 20:21) are the words our Lord offered to the fearful disciples on the first Easter evening.
As I have been reflecting on these precious words of Jesus, I have also been reflecting on some of the distressing events taking place all around us, including some that made headlines during this Holy Week:
- Political chaos in different parts of the world
- The fire that ravaged historic Notre-Dame Cathedral
- The arson that gutted three African-American churches in St. Landry Parish, LA: St. Mary Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church
- The death of a young woman obsessed with the Columbine shootings
- Continued injustice to refuges, asylum seekers, and immigrants in our nation and the world
- Devastating storms
- Violent crime
- Intolerance and harm done to the marginalized
It is safe to say that hearing the news of these times summons fear in our hearts and minds. In the midst of all of this, however, we, as Easter people, have been challenged by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to bring the message of peace.
Reflecting further, I recalled the following covenant statement our Northeastern Jurisdictional Youth Ministry team adopted for the first Mission of Peace in 1986 (http://www.nejumc.org/moppurpose.html):
Our Lord Jesus Christ challenges us to become Peacemakers who will:
- Explore ideas on the building of peace, particularly stressing and nurturing the development of confidence and trust between people.
- Understand the unique role of Christians in creating shalom.
- Dispel myths and stereotypes about people of other cultures.
- Meet youth and adults to exchange ideas about faith and the role of the Church in the world.
- Talk about our hopes and fears within a global community.
My hope and prayer is for Easter to be a season when we continue to examine and reflect on how to be peacemakers for Christ by:
- keeping the ideas of peace-building in front of us every day
- creating spaces for shalom in our churches and communities
- dispelling the myths and stereotypes about cultures and people around us who think and act differently from us
- exchanging ideas about building a community of shalom with people of other faiths and no faith
- talking about our hopes and fears openly, honestly, and prayerfully in our churches and communities
May God enable all of us to be Easter people, filled with the amazing love of Jesus Christ, and always heeding the voice of the Holy Spirit in our deliberations.
Prema joins me in wishing you and your loved ones a blessed and happy Easter!
In Christ’s love,
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar