The Cathedral of St. Philip - Atlanta, GA

The Dean's Easter Letter

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Dear Easter People!

Easter can appear at the strangest times.

The more I go through Holy Week, for instance, the more I discover Easter showing up prematurely. On Palm Sunday, an exhilaration fills me when I walk around the Point, on the sidewalk at the front of the cathedral, waving palm branches and shouting “Hosannah!” It’s fun to wave our hands for Jesus just as we might wave them for our favorite sports star, or music star, or sun rise. That feels something like the energy of Easter.

Strangely, Palm Sunday turns bitter and tragic when we hear the Passion gospel, and we hear the various incidents of outright betrayal. Finally, it is us, the crowd, shouting, “Crucify him, crucify him,” just as we might when we lose faith in one of our heroes. Yet, Jesus persists in loving us, even in the midst of such betrayal. That love feels to me like Easter, an unmerited Easter, even in pain.

On Thursday of Holy Week, we hear a new commandment, that we should love one another as Jesus has loved us. The word for commandment in Latin is “mandatum,” from which we get the name for that day, Maundy Thursday. When we wash feet and hear the story of the Last Supper, from which we get our service for Holy Eucharist, I am touched again. I am touched again with something that feels like Easter love.

Good Friday, of course, is the day of pain. There’s no way around it. Jesus suffers. But somehow, the pain of Jesus shows me that he knows my pain, that he has suffered in far worse ways than I have. That sharing of pain, again, feels a lot like Easter power.

Easter can appear at the strangest times. Easter power, Easter love, Easter energy, all appear throughout Holy Week. I hope some of this Easter energy finds you this year. Maybe you will be at these wondrous services. I hope so! But maybe you will not. Easter love might find you in your own, personal, times of betrayal, or pain, or parading, or sharing of a meal, or even washing of a child’s feet. Easter will show up for you, even in the strangest and most surprising places.

Easter Day, that day of tremendous joy, gathers all these experiences into a great celebration of resurrection! Join us, for sure, on that day! And join us in thanks for resurrection, too. Offer a special financial gift! We have a special offering webpage this time of year for special gifts of hope and joy, even when those moments emerge from suffering. Surprise God with your Easter gift of joy!

This Cathedral of St. Philip loves to celebrate new life. We celebrate love, whenever it comes, and from wherever it comes.

Thanks for your support!

The Very Reverend Sam Candler
Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip