April 11, 2017
On Palm Sunday, many of us awakened to the news that Coptic Christians were killed at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria, Egypt, and at St. George’s Church in Tanta, which is in the Nile Delta. Pope Tawadros II was leading Palm Sunday services in St. Mark’s Cathedral when the attacks occurred. At least 45 people were killed.
These acts of violence at the beginning of Holy Week remind Christians that too many people continue to favor violence and death for the advancement of their own ends. This Holy Week ends again with a remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus. His death was the result of fear — fear that his true message of Good News would undermine certain people’s claims to power, standing, and influence. If he could be put to death, his message of peace among all people would die with him. His final cry from the cross was, “It is finished.”
All thought his life was finished! His body was wrapped in burial clothes and placed in a tomb. The tomb was sealed, and all his followers knew his life was finished. Not only was he dead, but his message of hope was gone with him. Death has its way with our ideals, our values, and even our faith.
Upon hearing of the deaths of our brothers and sisters in Christ in Egypt, and reflecting on the Holy Week events we remember this week, I was drawn to William Wordsworth’s poem, “The World Is Too Much With Us.” Yes, it is. Too much violence … too much greed … too much poverty … too much fear … too much that appears to finish off God’s dreams for God’s creation and for God’s children.
But Sunday, Christians from the cities of Alexandria and Tanta in Egypt to the cities of Dallas, Wichita Falls, Sherman, Tioga, Mount Vernon, and points in between and around the world will shout: “The Lord is risen indeed!” Our shouts defy the logic of the world that it is finished. By raising Jesus from the dead, God defied logic. Now we can affirm God is with us.
Easter Day is the perfect time to not only affirm the goodness of God, but for us to challenge the forces of death and evil seeking to destroy all that is holy.
Together we will wage peace and witness to the Good News of Christ that is still very much with us.
May you not only experience the Good News of Easter Day but proclaim that Good News each day of your life.
Christ is risen indeed!
Bishop Michael McKee
North Texas Annual Conference