calendar April 11, 2020 in Bishop, Bishop messages, Public Health

Easter Greeting From Bishop Davenport

Praise the Lord, everybody. Glory to God in the highest!

Grace and peace to you, beloved, in the name of the One who can do all things but fail, Jesus the Christ!

Today is Easter. We will gather virtually around the globe, sheltered in place, on one accord. Today we sing:

Christ is risen! Alleluia! Risen our victorious head!

Sing his praises! Alleluia! Christ is risen from the dead!

Gratefully our hearts adore him, as his light once more appears,

bowing down in joy before him, rising up from griefs and tears.1

Yes, we sing from behind closed doors, self-imposed isolation for fear of the Corona virus. People are infected, people have died, people have recovered with life changing stories of their experience with COVID-19. Those who recovered tell of being near death or being resuscitated two or three times — death and restoration. Thankful for doctors, nurses and ventilators, but glory is given to God!

Bishop’s Easter Message 2020 from Southeastern PA Synod, ELCA on Vimeo.

Sheltered in place we are hearing Matthew’s resurrection story of the life-giving power of God through the work of Jesus.

We read that our first Easter was not in a sanctuary with singing, preaching, praying and praising. No, on the first Easter the disciples were locked in their homes; they were scared. It was dangerous for those who had contact with Jesus, those who chose to believe and follow as disciples. When the two Mary’s knocked on the door, we can only imagine them hearing the good news that Jesus had risen from the dead through a cracked door.

In this time of despair and fear, it may have seemed too good to be true. Could they go, should they go to see? If they left their homes their lives and the lives of their love ones might be in danger. Did the miracle happen?, did Jesus defeat death? Is this the end of the terror and fear for those who dared to believe? He is alive? Jesus is alive?

Could these disciples sheltered in place come to see that early on the third day, morning had broken and God’s love for the world was triumphant in the resurrected Christ? Yes, they were able to leave their homes, when the fear and danger subsided. Beloved, then they celebrated, telling his story, spreading the good news that Jesus was risen from the dead. Proclaiming God’s love as the most powerful force on the earth.

This year, we get to experience a taste of what that first Easter was like, sheltered in place in our homes, sharing His story, believing that hope is on the horizon. We wait patiently, enduring and enjoying this time drawing closer to family, friends and virtually the larger community. Beloved, trust “that in all things God works for the good of those who love God, who have been called according to God’s purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

We trust that God brings life out of death, hope out of despair, joy out of sadness. Christ is risen; He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

This is resurrection Sunday. Stay safe, stay blessed and stay encouraged. Be encouraged by the words the familiar song from the Gaithers:

Because He lives, we can face tomorrow,

Because He lives, all fear is gone;

Because we know He holds the future,

And life is worth the living,

Just because He lives! 2

Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!


The Rev. Patricia A. Davenport


1    ELW 382. Text: Public domain.
2    CCLI Song # 16880. Gloria Gaither | William J. Gaither. © 1971 Hanna Street Music (Admin. by Gaither Copyright Management) Used by permission. CCLI License # 2520458