Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you ~1 Peter 3:13-15
Next week is Holy Week. We will be invited to walk the Way of the Cross as we consider the hope given to us, and to all, through Jesus’ defeat of death on the cross and the empty tomb. No matter the true despair experienced on Good Friday, Easter joy has the last word, we confess.
This year’s Holy Week takes place in a time when more of us know more and more people who are Nones – a individuals who identify with no religious affiliation at all. Alongside that reality, we also live in a time when the epidemic of opioid addiction and rising rates of suicide amongst young adults suggest that a strong sense of despair lives close to many of us. Do we have a story of hope to offer? Do we believe the story of the Resurrected and Reconciled Christ is a story of hope for us and for our neighbors? If so, do we know how to offer such a word in this time?
I believe we are being called in East Tennessee to know both stories – both the stories of despair and hopelessness that impact friend and stranger daily AND the story we believe we have been given through Christ Jesus. This requires a deeper listening to each other and to the communities in which we live. It also presents us a challenge – do we believe there is a story of Christ’s hope in us? Is the Episcopal Church in East Tennessee prepared to proclaim that story and live out that story in our daily lives?
Reconciling Thoughts are bi-monthly words to consider from Bishop Brian. Fill out the sign-up form in the footer of our homepage if you’d like to receive them in your email inbox on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month.