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2011 Easter Message from ELCA Presiding Bishop

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By Mark S. Hanson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
April 24, 2011|10:17 am

So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
-- Matthew 28:8

Mary Magdalene and Mary walked to Jesus' grave, expecting to find death. It's understandable. Images of violence filled their minds. Thoughts of their vulnerability and mortality deadened their spirits. Death had become the defining story of their lives.

Instead of death, the women met a resurrection messenger who said, "He is not here: for he has been raised, as he said." As they hurried to tell others, the risen Jesus met them. They were changed. Now resurrection, not death, would define their lives.

Jesus lives! Now resurrection, not death, defines our lives. Jesus continues to meet you in resurrection messengers, just as Jesus met me in Pastor Josephus Livenson Lauvanus, president of the Lutheran Church of Haiti. As we walked through the ruins and rubble that lie in the aftermath of Haiti's earthquake, Pastor Livenson Lauvanus proclaimed, "We will not be defined by rubble, but by restoration, for we are a people of the resurrection."

Baptized into Jesus' death and raised to newness of life we, too, are people of the resurrection. We, too, are resurrection messengers. We, too, are about God's work of restoration.

The world aches to hear the message we have to tell. Sing with joy! Jesus lives! We are a people of the resurrection.

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Mark S. Hanson is the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with approximately 4.5 million members in more than 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region
 

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