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Resurrecting: Bishop Shannon’s Easter Message

On the first day of the week, at early dawn, the women who had come with Jesus from Galilee came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened. Luke 24:1-12


I can hardly believe I am celebrating my third Easter as your bishop. Life has worked differently than we planned, except for our commitment to follow Jesus together. As challenging as these years have been, I am grateful to be discerning with you, what resurrection looks like for us. I have found encouragement in Luke’s resurrection account of the empty tomb. I am sharing my reflection on this passage in the poem below.

May we all hold fast to his promise of love and life.

3rd Pandemic Easter
empty and full of life
Ready to receive and nourish and send
I have memories

Such stillness and vibration in the empty nave
after a Eucharist where the incense filled the air
like celestial clouds

Earth and heaven meeting in the swirls
The aroma lingered in the air
In my hair
Reminding me of the spices they prepared for a body that refused to be prepared for a life of death
An empty tomb saying there is more to life

An empty tomb
the door to what?
I return from time to time to remember what he said
To remember the contradictions of resurrection
It cannot be contained and cannot come without death
To remember,
Jesus, you know and experienced the depths of our suffering and injustice
Filling the void with love
To remember part of the evidence of resurrection is the empty tomb
with all its disappointments
of useless plans and preparation,
grief which unexpectedly lingers from the loss of predicability
To remember bands of fine linen piled up and the nakedness of life beyond my control
To remember the stone is gone so that I might go out to experience
To love

To remember part of the evidence of resurrection is me
To remember to tell the idle tale, that points to life on God’s terms, which I will never fully grasp which is always unfolding

Peace and blessings,

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