"He is not here. He is risen!"

"Do this in memory of me." "It is finished."

"He is not here. He is risen!"

These three phrases help me to frame what is core to our Holy Week and Easter proclamation. Through bread and wine shared we join those first followers of Jesus. We remember and we receive what only God can offer; unconditional and unearned forgiveness and acceptance in spite of our imperfection. With arms stretched by nails in a crossbeam, with face dripping with blood pricked by his thorny crown, and with his last gasp of living breath God absorbs the worst humanity could offer.

God takes what seems like the ultimate sign of weakness and defeat and declares God has accomplished what we could never accomplish. God absorbed the sins of all humanity for all time. As female friends and followers of Jesus go to finish the Jewish burial rite, they are startled and confused by Jesus' tomb being empty and hearing the words reported by the messenger by the grave.  What seemed like the end, becomes just the beginning.

Not even death can contain God's ultimate will to have a relationship with those created in God's image forever. May we dare to be bold proclaimers of this good news as we gather around the table, reflect on the cross and grapple with our own mortality.

Jesus Christ has risen today! Bishop Steve