One of my favorite Easter hymns is about greenness. "Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain."
It goes on to talk about love coming again. It's a reminder to me of how centered our Easter images are in the Northern hemisphere. We talk about greenness and new life and life springing forth from the earth when we talk about resurrection.
I often wonder what Easter images come in the Southern hemisphere, and I think that church in the south has something to teach us about that.
I was in Japan a month or so ago, and visiting the area of Japan that was so affected by the tsunami and the aftermath of the earthquake. The earth there is - was at that point - largely colorless, brown, in the middle of winter. No greenness. But at the same time the work of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, the Japanese church in that part of Japan, has brought a great deal of new life, life abundant for people who have been devastated and displaced, who are still mourning their loss of loved ones, the loss of their homes and employment.
New life comes in many forms, even in seasons that seem fairly wintry.
As we began Lent, I asked you to think about the Millennium Development Goals and our work in Lent as a re-focusing of our lives. I'm delighted to be able to tell you that the UN report this last year has shown some significant accomplishment in a couple of those goals, particularly in terms of lowering the rates of the worst poverty, and in achieving better access to drinking water and better access to primary education. We actually might reach those goals by 2015. That leaves a number of other goals as well as what moves beyond the goals to full access for all people to abundant life.
In this Easter season I would encourage you to look at where you are finding new life and resurrection, where life abundant and love incarnate are springing up in your lives and the lives of your communities. There is indeed greenness, whatever the season.
Give thanks for Easter. Give thanks for Resurrection. Give thanks for the presence of God incarnate in our midst.
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org