A Pastoral Message

Easter Message 2023

May we, Christ’s body, walk and serve and stand
With those oppressed in this and ev’ry land,
Till all are blessed and can a blessing be,
Restored in Christ to true humanity.

Nigel Weaver,
The Risen Christ, ELW 390


Many years ago, I had the privilege of traveling to visit our partners in the Lutheran Church in El Salvador as part of one of the first synod delegations. I remember speaking with one of the pastors there, and he reflected, “It feels like we are stuck on Holy Saturday; the death and fear of Good Friday is over, but we have yet to experience the joy of Easter Sunday.” He was referring to the reality that the long and deadly civil war in that country had ended, but they were unsure how the future would unfold, and when and if they would experience the fullness of peace and justice that they longed for.


Even though our situation is quite different, there are some parallels to the experience of living on Holy Saturday. These past few years have been filled with unprecedented challenges and painful experiences, and we are still unsure how our futures will unfold, and when and if we will feel the joy and peace and love promised to us on Easter. There are also many for whom it may feel like they are living in the midst of Good Friday, as the violence and pain of personal tragedies, community unrest, and global challenges may be breaking into our lives and surrounding us with fear and sadness.


And yet, Easter Sunday is coming, and we will proclaim and sing and celebrate the reality of Christ overcoming death and the grave and filling our hearts and our lives with joyful Hallelujahs. I pray that this glimpse of heaven’s joy will not simply distract us from the challenges of our Fridays and Saturdays but give us the strength and courage and confidence we need to confront them head on. Christ is risen, whether we are ready or not, and God’s life-giving Spirit is inviting us to live as Easter people in the world as it is today.


In resurrection hope,
Bishop Paul Erickson