Easter Message 2019 from the Patriarch
I woke up this morning, and after morning devotions, read an
email from one of my mentors, friend, and brother Bishop, that his wife, June,
had died during the night and was now resting in the peace of Jesus. June suffered for many years with Lewy Body
Dementia, a form of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Bishop Weeks retired from active ministry to stay home and take care of
his failing wife. He used to write
emails to friends, family, and other Bishops chronicling their life together,
her medical condition, and his small but significant ministry. He wrote a book about living with Alzheimer’s
and Dementia. But the greatest thing
Bishop Weeks did was his absolute devotion to serving his wife physically,
mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
The Christ-like, servant-love that he showed humbled everyone who would
read or knew about it.
For June the suffering is over.
For Philip, there is the reality of an incredible loss and
emptiness. I am thankful that I have
never had to face the loss of a spouse, a child or a grandchild. The thought of it is painful enough. I know of many people who have faced this,
and the grieving process is very painful, even for Christians. The loss of the sweet and intimate communion
of love, broken by death, is the very reason death is not a friend, but rather
Jesus enters fully human and fully divine into the life of
humanity, ultimately encountering and defeating death and then conquering the
grave in His resurrection. Because of
this, those who put their faith in Jesus, face the grave not with despair but
with hope will also conquer death and rise with Him and in Him for all
For those who mourn, and there is and should be a time of
mourning, they too can put their faith in the same hope that their loved one is
still very much alive, and that mourning is not the end of the story. Perhaps mourning can be turned into dancing,
and life will again find fullness because life is found in Jesus. I have seen
this faith and hope in people over and over again.
The Resurrection also proclaims that now all of creation, the
entire universe, is involved in a new creation.
A new heaven and earth are being formed in which evil, suffering, and
death will no longer exist. This new
creation is a result of God becoming human.
This new creation is a result of Jesus, out of humility and love for the
Father, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. From this obedience born in humility, love,
and, suffering, everything is being made new and brought to redemption.
It is such incredibly good news that because of Jesus and His
obedience, we can enter and participate in His life, death, and resurrection
and be transformed out of a life of sin and death, into a complete, full, and
healed person that will live and love forever.
The miracle of the resurrection is more than the empty tomb; it is that
Christ Jesus is alive and has taken humanity to heaven where it is seated on
the throne in Him. It is that we can
encounter Him in a way that is so transformative that we say we are “born
again” or “born anew.” Or, “we are a new creation the old has passed away” Or,
“it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me.” Yes, we can proclaim, “I know that my Redeemer
I pray that each of you have a glorious Easter. An Easter that doesn’t end after Sunday, but
an Easter that will renew you every morning.
Under His mercy,