An Eastertide greeting from Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata

An Eastertide greeting from Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata, President of the General Board of Church and Society

Dear Friends of the General Board of Church and Society,

Greetings in the name of Jesus our Hope and Salvation!

On Easter Sunday and in the weeks to follow, we proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, risen.  The message of the resurrection is central to our understanding of who we are as United Methodist Christians, and global citizens.  We are called to live our lives freed from the fear of evil and death, as Eastertide people renewed by our faith, living boldly in the shadow of an empty cross.  Our world urgently needs to hear and experience the message of resurrection hope now more than ever.

Terrorism, racism, violence, war, and discrimination continue to diminish our sisters and brothers in the human family.  In faith, we seek reassurance that out of despair can come the hope made known in Jesus Christ, risen.

An unbridled proliferation of violence stains our communities.  There is no simple solution to this madness.  Many things contribute to this epidemic of terrorism, mass shootings, suicides, accidental deaths, drug-related addictions, domestic conflict, unattended mental illness, and unbridled anger.  I pray for a rebirth of hope in transformative actions to turn the tide and reduce this growing scourge.

In the human family, racism persists and hatred against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning communities continue to plague us.  I pray for acceptance and an end to discriminatory laws for all of God’s children, regardless of how they look, what they wear, how they worship, and whom they love.

Our world, precious gift of God, fragile and endangered because of our human greed and actions needs our care.  Creation groans at the abuse and neglect it has endured.  I am praying that out of the spirit of deep appreciation for God’s created world, there can be repentance for our neglect and abuse of creation, which may bring renewal and resurrection.

Much of the hope that can be realized emerges out of our faithful response to the generous and abundant love of God in Jesus Christ, risen. To fully embrace that love is to understand that we have an indispensable role in bringing new life and new hope.  The words of an old hymn come to mind to remind me of this:

“When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Jesus’ touch can call us back to life again,
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.”

(J.M.C. Crum, 1928, The United Methodist Hymnal, #311)

I give thanks for the faithful witness of our General Board of Church and Society for the ways in which this board stands in places of injustice, violence, and oppression, urging each of us to proclaim and promote healing and resurrection in the name of Jesus Christ, risen!

Blessings,

Bob Hoshibata