March 30, 2015

Dear Family and Friends of the Diocese of Eau Claire,

As we move through Holy Week, I can’t help but reflect upon John’s Gospel. While Matthew, Mark, and Luke are more historical in nature, John is like a layered cake. It has a Jewish layer, a Samaritan layer, and finally a gentile layer. Mark is the earliest Gospel—in its final form. John is the latest in final form but is thought to contain some material earlier than Mark.

What I love about John is this Gospel writes not only from the perspective of the Resurrection. It also celebrates this event and the implications of experiencing Jesus as the Risen Lord.

When you attend an Easter Vigil or Easter Day service, the focus is upon Jesus being raised from the dead. This is important, but why would the disciples and later generations including ourselves have such joy if it were only for Jesus while the rest of us die and disappear? The joy exists because Jesus is the forerunner. He has shown us the way to eternal life. In a way he leads us back to the Garden of Eden. He moves us through the cherubim with their flaming swords blocking the entrance to the Garden. This symbolizes death. Jesus guides us through death back to the Tree of Life. This leads us to the next questions. How does Jesus do this? Is there anything we can do to assist him? The answers lie in John’s Gospel.

John’s purpose is to call us to live as an Easter people. We live in a new age, the Age of the Resurrection. The Fourth Gospel calls us to live into this reality. We are to be faithful to the Good News. Our sins of the past are forgiven. We live in a new time in which we are resident aliens on earth. We are transitioning home—to heaven. Life on earth is meant to be good, for ourselves and for others as we help them. That said, it doesn’t compare to the life that awaits. Jesus has shown us the way. John wants us to live in expectation of a great life on earth and an even better life to come. You could call it paradise, for that is exactly what it is. Happy Easter! With my love and best wishes, I am,

Your brother in Christ,