Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!!!
Last night and early this morning, across the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod, this proclamation of victory has been made. On Friday night, we left our places of worship in darkness and grief, the tomb was closed, sin and death victorious. Yet now our communities have gathered in vigils on Saturday and now on Sunday to proclaim that God is not dead, the grave cannot hold, Christ has triumphed.
This is the hope in which we live. The abundance of God made known in life victorious over death. The death and resurrection into which we are baptized (Romans 6:3-4). Living into that baptism, then we are called to be abundant stewards of all that God has given us working and living #InMissionTogether.This Easter day, I give thanks for all of you and the work that you have been about this Lent and now Easter season. So many have labored to make these celebrations possible. Certainly our clergy and authorized leaders, but also musicians, office and custodial staff, lay volunteers, nursery attendants, the list goes on. We give thanks for all who have helped make this day possible, and I encourage you to be sure to thank your leaders and volunteers for their work, and then also grant them appropriate time for rest and rejuvenation. For the festival of Easter is not yet done.
Easter is a 50-day festival, a week of weeks. During Easter, we are going to be encouraging our communities to consider two ways to respond to the abundance of the resurrection:
1) Make a gift towards our Easter Appeal for the NT-NL Fund within the ELCA Fund for Leaders. $10,000 in matching gifts have already been given to make your congregation’s contributions have an even greater impact! If your congregation is participating in our Easter appeal, you can either bring those gifts as part of your Synod Assembly offering (all of which will go to the Fund for Leaders), or you may send them directly to the synod office.
2) Secure your tickets or sponsor a table at the Briarwood “Fiesta” on May 5th at Texas Star in Euless. On this evening, we will celebrate and support financially the commitment we have made to this ministry of our synod. This will be a special evening to express gratitude for the commitment and support of Briarwood. In particular, we will give thanks for Volunteers of the Year Greg Getting and Bruce Haugene (Faith, Flower Mound), Advocates of the Year Dan and Pastor Jane Mar (Preston Meadow, Plano), as well as present a Legacy Award to Hattie and Pastor Mel Hammer (Our Redeemer, Grand Prairie). Additionally, the Fiesta will be the occasion for Briarwood supporters to appropriately honor and give thanks for the work of retiring Executive Director, the Rev. Phil Geleske. I am so very grateful for the servant leadership of Pastor Geleske these many years at Briarwood. This leadership has improved Briarwood’s program and facilities exponentially and continues now in his prayerful decision to retire. This retirement will enable the Briarwood board and leadership, including myself, to lead adaptively seeking after a hopeful future, including financial sustainability for this ministry. Make your plans to attend.
The hope of Easter is the hope in which we live our daily lives. Christ, born of Mary, crucified in solidarity with all caught in sin, has overcome the power of death. God’s abundant life, poured out freely in baptism, is given to us as a gift. We are called then to be faithful disciples and stewards of all of God’s gifts and share them for the life of the world.
Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen Indeed, Alleluia, Amen!!!
Bishop Erik K. J. Gronberg, PhD