Easter message from Bishop Héctor A. Burgos Núñez
April 9, 2023 / By Bishop Héctor A. Burgos Núñez
Editor's note: The following message was sent electronically on April 9, 2023 on behalf of Bishop Héctor A. Burgos Núñez to United Methoidsts of Upper New York.
“The angel said to the women, 'Don't be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was nailed to a cross.
He isn't here! God has raised him to life, just as Jesus said he would.'”
Dear siblings in Christ,
The world is going through many challenges that are seriously affecting the lives of people in our communities and around the globe– war, racism, inflation, gun violence, toxic politics, divisions, climate change, and hunger to mention a few.
When I engage people in conversation, in and outside the Church, they usually quickly share their worries and anxieties with me. In most cases, all these negative things seem to define their lives.
The Resurrection of Jesus is the story that defines the Christian faith. And as such, it is the event that, for us as disciples of Jesus Christ, should define who we are, how we see the world, and how we face our struggles and new opportunities.
Jesus’ resurrection, if we embrace it as our story, changes us forever.
Thanks to the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus, evil does not have the last word in our life, nor can it define us. When Jesus died, the authority of sin upon us died. And on that glorious morning when Christ resurrected, a new hope was born, and a new story that leads us to experience and live in God’s love fully began.
In a time when so many negative narratives are trying to define us, let’s (re)claim the story of the Risen Christ as the source of our faith and hope and the narrative that defines us – not our past or present challenges, nor our circumstances – but the extravagant love of God, in Jesus Christ.
May the story that shapes us as disciples and United Methodists in Upper New York be Jesus’ story, risen and victorious. Jesus showed us that life conquers death, that love is stronger than hatred, that serving those in need is more important than being served, and that evil will never have the last word in our lives.
What story defines your life? What story affirms your sense of value and purpose? What story sustains you and gives you hope during difficult times?
My answer is Jesus Christ, in whom the indescribable love of God becomes most accessible in my life. Jesus, who is my hope, the love that gives me life, and the light that illuminates my path. In Christ, I find strength for the journey, encouragement when things get rough, forgiveness for my shortcomings, and the promise of abundant life that begins now and extends into eternity. Jesus is my ultimate model and example of mercy-giving and justice-seeking and acceptance, and inclusion.
I thank God for breaking into the world's chaos to show us what love means and to bring hope and a new way of living. This Easter let’s humbly confess and repent for the times we have allowed other narratives to define us and (re)claim Jesus’ story as the narrative that defines and, through the Holy Spirit, shapes our everyday life as disciples and servant leaders in the Church.
Joyfully and with thanksgiving, let’s gracefully share the story of Jesus with others, live the gospel, and love all our neighbors through concrete acts of mercy and justice – as in doing so, the healing love of Christ transforms the world, one person and community at a time.
Alleluia, Christ is Risen!
Bishop Héctor A. Burgos Núñez
The United Methodist Church
Serving United Methodist of Upper New York