Thanks be to God. We are now in the season of Easter, a time when the churches proclaim that Christ is risen, and we do it again and again. The commercial world moves on, of course. Eggs and bunnies are quickly put on remainder in the stores, as the next secular holiday beckons. But in the church, it is still Easter. And our celebration continues. Easter is so much more than a spring-time ritual. It is how we interpret everything that happens.
A week ago, almost 150 Kenyan college students were shot in cold blood, because they were Christians. The Archbishop of Kenya, in a Good Friday message to the people of Kenya, wrote:
“Horror is fresh in our minds, too, and let us not run away or deny it, but stay by the cross. We stay with Jesus, the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, we share in the grief of Mary and we share in the grief of those who have been so shockingly bereaved, but as Mary was to discover, we know this is not the end of the story. Jesus’ death upon the cross was not in vain. By his death, death has been destroyed. The stone rolled away and the empty tomb of Jesus assures us that death does not have the last word. As we think of those dear ones who died at Garissa because they were Christians, let us remember the promise of the Lord Jesus that nothing can separate them and us from his love.”
In this season of Easter we celebrate that Christ has risen, and that he has overcome death and despair. Ad we pray for strength and hope for those whose lives still seem to be in darkness.
Many people this month are focusing on issues of hunger. Bread for the World, a Christian citizen’s advocacy group, asks us to pray this month for:
1. All who suffer from hunger and poverty, that they would find new life in this season.
2. Congressional leaders, that they would not cut funds for vital food-assistance
3. The new creation of the world, which would see an end to hunger by 2030.
In Montana, next Wednesday, April 15, is “Wear Orange Day” to raise awareness of childhood
hunger. Many communities are having events to raise awareness and make a difference in the
rising rates of childhood hunger in our state. I encourage you to look into it. Jan Martin is our
Synod Hunger Coordinator.
And, finally, April 25 is “World Malaria Day,” a time to raise awareness of this preventable and
treatable disease which ruins so many lives unnecessarily. The ELCA has committed to raising
15 million dollars for malaria relief by the end of 2015. April 26 would be a great time for
congregations to make a big push towards that goal. Jen Asselstine is our Synod Malaria
Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
Jessica Crist, Bishop
Bishop Jessica Crist
Bishop of the Montana Synod of the ELCA