Presiding Bishop Curry: Easter 2018 Message from the Holy Land
"Hatred does not have the last word. Violence does not have the last word. Bigotry does not have the last word. Sin, evil do not have the last word. The last word is God, and God is love."
[March 26, 2018] Filmed on Palm Sunday during his visit to the Holy Land, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry delivered his Easter 2018 Message while standing outside of St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem.
"Hatred does not have the last word," the Presiding Bishop said. "Violence does not have the last word. Bigotry does not have the last word. Sin, evil do not have the last word. The last word is God, and God is love."
The Presiding Bishop is traveling in the Holy Land during Holy Week.
The Festive day of Easter is Sunday, April 1.
The video is available
The following is the text of the Presiding Bishop's Easter 2018 Message:
Hello on Palm Sunday from St George's Cathedral in Jerusalem.
There is a passage in the 27th Chapter of Matthew's gospel where religious leaders, political leaders come together once again after Jesus has been crucified and executed, after he had been buried in the tomb. Once again they come together to seal the tomb, to make sure not even a rumor of his resurrection will happen. And this is what some of them say:
Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may go and steal him away and tell the people he has been raised from the dead. And the last deception will be the worse than the first.
It is easy to overlook, and sometimes convenient to forget, that Jesus was executed, Jesus was crucified by an unholy alliance of religion, politics, and economic self-interest.
Politics represented in Pontius Pilate, governor of the Roman Empire, representative of that very empire and all of its power.
King Herod, who heard Jesus at one of the trials, representative of the Herodian and economic self-interest at the time.
The Chief Priest, representative of religious aristocracies who had a vested interest in the status quo.
These three powers came together - economic, religious and political - to crucify the one who taught love the lord your God, love your neighbor, and actually live that way.
The truth is the message of Jesus was unsettling to the world then as it is unsettling to the world now. And yet that very message is the only source of hope in life for the way of the cross, the way of unselfish living, the way of sacrificial living, seeking the good, the welfare of the other before one's own unenlightened self-interest. That way of the cross is the way of love. That is the nature of love. And that way is the only hope for the entire human family
The reality is the way of Jesus was a threat to the way that the world is, and hope for the way the world can and will be.
But on that third day after the crucifixion, when by the titanic power of God, by the power of the love of God, Jesus was raised from the dead. God sent a message and declared that death does not have the last word. Hatred does not have the last word. Violence does not have the last word. Bigotry does not have the last word. Sin, evil do not have the last word. The last word is God, and God is love.
On our pilgrimage here, we stopped and spent two days in Jordan. In Amman, Jordan, we were able to spend some sacred and blessed and painful time with Iraqi Christians. These are Christians, many of whom are Anglican, who have fled their country in Iraq because of war and violence and hatred and desecration. They have given up everything, refusing to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ. And there in Jordan, with the help of the Anglican Church there and many other relief agencies, they are at least safe, hoping to find safe and permanent homes in other countries.
In the course of our conversations, and listening to them, at one point I found myself quoting a hymn, a song that many folk have heard around Easter, certainly in our country. And I didn't expect a response. You probably know how it goes - it says,"because he lives," referring to Jesus and his resurrection, "because he lives, I can face tomorrow." When I quoted that song, those who have lost their homes, people who have lost everything except life itself, those who have lost loved ones, actually responded to the words of that song. When I said,"Because He lives I can face tomorrow." When I said Jesus is alive, He's been raised from the dead, I saw them lift up their heads and respond with the words amen, hallelujah.
My brothers and sisters, evil could not stop him. Death could not stop him. Violence could not stop him. For the love of God, the heart of God, the reality of God is stronger than anything else. And Jesus really rose from the dead on that first resurrection morning.
God love you. God bless you. And, may this Easter season be the first day of the rest of our lives.
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
Mo. Rita's 2018 Easter Letter
Dear Friends in Christ,
Our Lenten Fast journey is almost over. Like the Israelites, we have moved through the wilderness of this season, learning to depend upon and trust in God. We have fasted and restrained from things that keep us from God. We have turned our hearts again toward God and asked for his mercy and grace, his forgiveness and love. And all the while, he has been widening our hearts and souls to receive his new life at Easter.
Joy awaits us. Like the Israelites, we look to the Promised Land. Easter is almost here. We will celebrate with the baptism of Corinne Howard and the first Eucharist of Easter at the Easter Vigil on Saturday night, March 31
at 7 pm. It is the most beautiful and ancient of services in our tradition, beginning in darkness when the new fire is lit and spreads with candles across the congregation representing Christ's light come into our world and hearts. We remember the story of salvation and God's good purposes, leading us to the new life of baptism and the heart of Easter. If you have not come before I encourage you to come this year. Easter day we will continue to celebrate Jesus' Resurrection and greet the morning with joy with the Holy Eucharist at 8 am and 10 am, with full choir at both services.
As we prepare our hearts to rejoice, I encourage you to take part in the special liturgies of Holy Week. During Holy Week, we enter into the Passion of our Lord and the events that led to his crucifixion. The proper liturgies of this week are unique and help us to enter more deeply and fully into the mystery and meaning of Christ's death and passion. Our liturgies of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are profoundly moving, beautiful with full choir, and begin at 7 pm with child care provided. Come take part. Other services are designed especially for children and families, and are held earlier in the evening (5:30 Maundy Thursday and 5:00 Good Friday). Additional opportunities for prayer and worship in this week ahead are invaluable for the widening of our hearts, minds, and spirits to receive the joy of Easter.
Again this year, we are much blessed by the excellent musicianship of Robert and Nancy Ludwig in all our services. Again, it is worth highlighting our special noon service on Good Friday. During the three hours that Christ hung upon the cross, the Ludwigs will present the profound and moving organ meditations of "
Le Chemin de la Croix
" by Marcel Dupré in the context of the actual Stations of the Cross. Come for as little or as much of the three hours as you are able. People are welcome to come and go throughout the service.
As Christ gives us his life that we might be freed from fear, sin, and death, we also make offerings of thanksgiving to God and for the sake of his Church. Please remember St. John's in your gratitude for the faith that has been given to you - and as a means of providing for the sharing of God's Easter life and eternal love with others. There is great need in our Bangor community for God's Good News, his healing grace, and the experience of his presence found in worship and in a faith community, and St. John's is blessed to be a messenger and instrument of God's love.
With prayers that the joy of Easter may fill our hearts and transform our lives -
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Marguerite Steadman, Rector
Holy Week & Easter Events
Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Services at 7:30 am
Children's Maundy Thursday, March 29, 5:30 pm
Activities, Agape Meal, and foot washing
*Maundy Thursday, March 29, 7 pm
Liturgy of the Day with foot washing and stripping of the altar
Music includes Duruflé, Astonand Taizé
Good Friday, March 30, 12:00-3:00 pm - Stations of the Cross
Le Chemin de la Croix - 14 movement organ meditation by Dupré
Children's Good Friday, March 30, 5 pm
Children's Station of the Cross
*Good Friday, March 30, 7 pm - Veneration of the cross w/ sung Passion
Music includes Gregorian Chant and St. John Passion by Robert Ludwig
Holy Saturday, March 31, 9 am in the Chapel
*Easter Vigil, March 31, 7 pm - The Great Vigil of Easter
Music includes Noyon and Willan
Easter Day, April 1, Services at 8 and *10 am
Music at both services includes Stopford and Widor
A Service of Light in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
Below are a few snap shots of this years' Annual Meeting, our 100th Anniversary Celebration, and the visit from our Bishop.
Senior YES Pilgrimage:
The Senior YES Youth Group is going on a pilgrimage trip to France this April. We're going to a community called Taizé, which describes itself as a "wellspring of faith." Our intention for this trip is to experience new cultures, as people from so many different places come to Taizé for spiritual renewal. At Taizé, our daily life will include eating together, praying together, working together, and singing together. Our hope is that this pilgrimage will change our view of the world and ourselves. At the beginning of our trip, we're going to be spending a day sightseeing in Paris. We'll be spending some time touring in the Notre Dame Cathedral, and a few art museums.
We'd appreciate prayers for open minds and hearts to receive God's message as we begin to embark on this journey. We'd also appreciate prayers for us to be present in the moment and be assured that God is taking care of our loved ones at home. Thank you for your continuous support. We've almost reached our funding goal, but we're still welcoming donations.
Announcements & Looking Ahead
SPRING RUMMAGE SALE
: Saturday April 21 from 8 to Noon. A sign-up sheet is now on the undercroft bulletin board to sign up for
(Wed/Thurs/Fri. aprox. 9 am to 2 pm) and sale day to volunteer whatever time you can spare. (men/women/teens) Drop off for items will be Sunday April 15 or during those set-up days: clothes, toys, books, music, linens, small household items, jewelry. See Claudia/Jim Blanchette, Nancy Henry, or call church office with any questions. Thank You!
Extra help is needed for our monthly serving at the soup kitchen.
We are scheduled to serve the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Salvation Army, from 10 am to 1:30 pm. Our next scheduled date is
Tuesday April 24th.
For more information, please see Nancy Henry or Phil (Hickey) Ulrich.
Prayer Shawl Knitters:
Thank you for continuing to knit shawls and bringing them to the Parish House.
Mark your calendar for April 25th, we'll be meeting in the Bethlehem Chapel at 1 pm to knit together
. We are looking forward to seeing you then.