Christ is Risen…Christ is Risen Indeed! Friends, we have now concluded the “Lentiest Lent we have ever Lented.” This Season of Lent took on a whole new meaning of “giving up or taking on” as we continue practicing being physically distant and living out Indiana’s Stay at Home Executive Orders. Yesterday, as a community of faith, dispersed in many places, the commemoration of the Risen Christ required us to stretch our imaginations, and move beyond our comforts to truly celebrate during a time that seems so unreal. I must acknowledge and applaud the extensive planning, preparation, and excitement leading up to the Easter celebration; THANK YOU to 110 congregations, 85+ clergy, and over 35,000+ persons who identify as United Methodists in the Central District.

So, now on this Easter Monday, the question arises for me…WHAT NOW, and WHAT’S NEXT? While I am not advocating for us to rush to the next thing, I will reiterate, we must possess a marathon mindset and not a sprint mentality during these ever-evolving times. However, as we continue living in this current rhythm of life, I would offer that the true testimony of the Word is the way we give witness by the lives we live. Indeed being living examples of the transforming work of Jesus Christ, and showing the world what Resurrection truly means; especially through pandemic circumstances. I am reminded of Jesus’ words from John 13:34-35, “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” ‭‭‬‬‬‬

Now, I am not sure how Jesus defined this commandment to love, but what I know to be true is…“Where there is love there is life.” May we, who have been primary recipients of God’s love, be willing to share God’s life-giving love to all. May we, who have aided from the extension of grace, be willing to extend grace. May we who are benefactors of Christ’s sacrifice, be eager to selflessly serve God and God’s people. This love can be demonstrated in our everyday interactions, be it virtually or through our running of essential errands. Additionally, this love can be expressed in our immeasurable gratitude for those who continue to serve and sacrifice on the front lines to ensure we are safe and have sustenance.

I would offer that during this prime moment in time, before the novelty fades, we as faithful Christ-followers must seize this opportunity to consistently live this life of love, which defines for the world what it truly means to be Easter People. As Jesus did not allow the tomb to restrain him, let us not allow COVID-19 to constrain us, because many are still seeking The Church to be the Rock, Refuge, and place of Restoration; even while we are not gathering in buildings, WE CONTINUE TO BE THE CHURCH.

Because Christ lives, we can face tomorrow, and the tomorrows to come (even when you lose track of what day it is)…Stay Encouraged; Stay Safe; and Stay Well!

Dr. Aleze M. Fulbright
Conference Superintendent serving the Central District