After a year of pandemic, folks are just tired. We've had enough of dealing with pandemic and tragedy and we're ready for something different. And here's where I think we might be able to make a difference in Holy Week: what if we intentionally shared God's love? (Time: 4:58.)
This is Bishop Hughes in the Diocese of Newark, and I want to talk with you about Holy Week. Holy Week, these days that are dedicated to God – that's what "holy" means, these days that are dedicated to God – where the church spends its time thinking intentionally about Jesus's journey towards the cross, to death and resurrection in preparation for Easter, is some of the most interior and moving and holy time that we spend together in church. And I’m sure many of you have plans to observe this time in just that way this Holy Week, and I hope it is a blessing to you.
And I want to talk with you about one other way about Holy Week being a blessing this year, and that is for us to think about being a blessing to someone else. Now I know my good Episcopalians – as soon as I said that you're already thinking about who do I need to write a check to, where should I run the food drive, what do I need to pick up to donate to some place – and I want to talk with you about something completely different. I want to talk with you about being an example of God's love in this time.
This Holy Week comes at a unique time. It's a book end in this period of pandemic. Last year at Holy Week we had just entered in pandemic, this year at Holy Week we seem to be moving towards coming out of pandemic. There's so much excitement and enthusiasm about vaccinations and the freedom that that might bring to us. At the same time there is also worry, especially in Northern New Jersey as infection rates and new cases seem to increase at a rate that defies what we were logically expecting at this time. Folks are just tired. We've had enough. We've had enough of dealing with pandemic, we've also had enough of tragedy and we're ready for something different.
And here's where I think we might be able to make a difference in Holy Week. What if we – whoever we are with, wherever we go and however we interact – what if we are dedicated to God at that time. That when we stand before a person – whether it's on the phone or online or in line at the grocery store or to get a vaccine, whether it's at work or at school, whatever it is we're doing – what if we as people dedicated to God intentionally shared God's love? Through our responses, through our interactions, through the words that we say, the things that we do – what if we let people know that they are a blessing? That God has created them to be a gift to the world and we see them as that gift. What if we were able to give God's love to other people all throughout this week. What if we were able to be an example of God's love to other people?
You know a thing that I think is hard for us sometimes to recognize as Christians is most people don't learn Christianity from the Bible, most people don't learn Christianity from church – these days most people learn everything they know about Christianity from the behavior of another Christian.
They're learning from us. And this week what I want to suggest is that we could teach more by being God's love in all that we say and do. We could teach more by sharing God's love in all that we can say or do. And we can be a part of God's transformation in this world, if in all that we say or do we intentionally ask ourselves, "How am I to bring God's love into this?"
I promise you, if you give yourself the opportunity, God will find the way to help you show God's love wherever you go. And that will be one incredible Holy Week – one that's not just dedicated to God for us but dedicated to God for the world around us.
I pray for blessings on your Holy Week and I pray that your Easter is full of God's blessing and God's great joy.