Last week, I received a gift. The gift of an invitation from someone I don’t even know. The invitation wound up as a link in my Facebook feed. The link was to the blog of the Right Reverend Doug Fisher, the Episcopal Bishop of Western Massachusetts. In the post from last Friday, the bishop noted that while the Episcopal Church is very good at inviting people to a Holy Lent (after all, we’ve got words for such a thing on page 264 in the Book of Common Prayer!), we are a bit weak on inviting people to soak up all of the opportunities present within the Great Fifty Days of the Easter Season. The bishop then offered his own invitation to a Holy Easter. I read it and reread it and realized, it was the precise “word from the Lord” I needed to hear. In fact, I shared the invitation at the conclusion of my sermon in yesterday’s liturgies. I share it here to remind myself that I’ve signed on to living Easter as a season and not simply as the finish line to the Lent/Holy Week marathon:
Dear People of God: In the weeks after the Resurrection of Jesus, the apostles overcame their fears, and experienced forgiveness, peace, joy, amazement, and hope. Their hearts burned within them as they understood the scriptures in a whole new way. They ran from place to place, telling the Good News. They were filled with New Life.
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to a Holy Easter Season. Take into your souls the words of the angels, “Do not be afraid.” Face your fears. Forgive someone — perhaps even yourself. Allow yourself to be amazed at what God is doing. Read the scriptures and find the God of love. Go on an adventure. Try new things. Get creative. Use your imagination. Expand your horizons. Be joyful — God has a hold on you and will never let go. Tell others the Good News. Practice mercy, compassion and hope. Be on the lookout for Resurrection — in your life; in others’ lives; in this great and glorious world! Alleluia! Amen.
(Bishop Fisher’s blog may be found at: http://bishopfisherblog.wordpress.com)