Bishop Peter F. Christensen

Bishop Peter F. Christensen

Jesus Christ is Risen! – not just there and then, but here and now as well. The power at work, raising Christ from the dead nearly 2,000 years ago, is a power that is at work in our lives even today.

Jesus rose from the dead, showing he has overcome death. Jesus’ power to transcend the many deaths we face in our lives is also given to us today through His Spirit living in us.

As it was for the disciples who, up until the Resurrection, were losing all hope, we sometimes feel that certain circumstances in our lives might be more than we can handle.

I remember a number of years ago, after making a hike up to the Church of San Giacomo in the Dolomite region of Italy, seeing a wood statue depicting Jesus sitting down on the road to Calvary, looking utterly exhausted. His body was clearly battered and beaten. He had so little strength to continue on. It was obvious to me that the artist captured what words could not; the statue brought to reality another facet of the suffering Jesus endured.

How could Jesus go on? His energies were spent. And “How could any good come from what Jesus suffered?” was asked by many people at the time.

We know, however, that he persevered in his journey, while the faith and hope he had in the Father’s promise of new life brought him through that horrific event of crucifixion. He was assured by the Father that all would be reconciled and made right in the coming Resurrection.

The Sacred Scriptures remind us to persevere in our hope of God’s deliverance as well. Doing so will not leave us disappointed, for “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given us.” (Rom 5:5).  As Christians living in an imperfect world, it is important that we remember that our sufferings do not end with futility and death, but will be guided by the loving presence of God Our Father.  Our Lord will see us through to the end accompanied by the many blessings that are poured forth when we remain close to Him.

This Easter Season will again be a time of grace. This is a time when the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is once again made known in our lives as well. Take note, there have been hardships that we have had to endure, but there is a power that transforms those hardships into an experience of greater peace, allowing each of us to know that God is present and never leaves us unaided in the face of our trials. Although we may for a time have to suffer and be overcome by grief, in faith we have hope that Our Lord is true to His word. He will not leave us unattended. Again, as St. Paul blesses us in his encouraging words to the Romans, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit” (Rom 15:13).

And as the prophet Daniel reminds us, “‘Do not fear, beloved. Peace! Take courage and be strong.’ When he spoke to me, I grew strong and said, ‘Speak, my Lord, for you have strengthened me.’” (Daniel 10:9)

As then, is now, Jesus is Risen! He has Risen indeed!

Easter Blessings of continued hope, peace and joy throughout the Season,

Bishop Peter