Tuesday, April 14, 2009

US Episcopal head remembers earthquake victims in Italy Easter visit

Remembering the earthquake that devastated the Italian town of L'Aquila in the Abruzzi region, US Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori marked Easter Day in Florence. Solange De Santis of Episcopal Life Media reports.

"The Easter question for us is always, do we recognize what we're seeing? Can we see newly risen life in L'Aquila? … Can we see Jesus in unexpected joy?" she said in a sermon delivered at St James Church, the so-called "American church" in Florence celebrating the end of its centennial year. (The full text of the Presiding Bishop's sermon is available here.)

Referring to the day's Gospel reading from the book of John, Jefferts Schori noted that the first two disciples to discover that Christ's body was gone from the tomb returned home and did not understand what they had witnessed. Mary Magdalene, who stayed by the sepulchre to grieve, saw the resurrected Christ, but at first did not recognize him. When she did, she then went to tell the disciples.

"In Easter, God has reworked the nature of creation. Death is no longer the end of things. We live in the assurance that the deaths in Abruzzi are being turned for life, even though we may not see or recognize it for a long time. That hope is sustained in communities like this one - where the resurrected one keeps that hope lively in some so that it may inflame and infect others' despair," she said.

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