BISHOP'S EASTER MESSAGE 2019
The text of Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick's video Easter Message:
As I pray and ruminate about Easter 2019, I am reminded of the great hymn in Paul’s letter to the Philippians (2:5-11, below in the Common English Bible translation):
Those first Christians would have understood this hymn as connecting Jesus with the images of “Wisdom” in the Old Testament and earlier Jewish literature. In the Apocrypha’s “The Wisdom of Solomon” (7:25-26), the author writes:
They also would have immediately connected it with the “suffering servant” in the Prophet Isaiah (chapters 52:13-53:12). Certainly, Isaiah 52:13-25:
would give meaning to the concluding verses of the hymn:
They would have also immediately understood the political significance of the passage. The description of one who “did not count equality with God a thing to be exploited” and as one who took “the form of a slave” would stand in contrast to Roman emperors, who were recognized as “equal to God” and exploited this status. The self-emptying of Jesus Christ is the very antithesis of a Hellenistic ruler, and the model of avarice, greed and self-assertion of the “Great Man” in the Roman Empire.
Easter is the reminder that in Jesus Christ all the world is transformed. We – individually as believers and collectively as the Church – are changed. In those wonderful words from the Prayer Book (in Eucharistic Prayer D, page 374):
When Paul calls us to “[a]dopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus,” he is calling us to an Easter life. We are called to a life that does not fear death, that celebrates sacrifice, that embodies humility, that speaks truth to power, and that denies triumph to greed. He calls us to life transformed.
My prayer for all of us is that we can dare to have the “attitude that was in Christ Jesus” and live into our Easter life:
O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Right Reverend Robert L. Fitzpatrick
The Episcopal Diocese of Hawai'i
The Episcopal Church in Micronesia
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