Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has issued this joint Easter pastoral letter with Bishop Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. The two churches share a full communion agreement that includes joint mission work and a joint national meeting in July 2013. This letter is designed to be read in parishes on Easter Sunday.
Dear friends in Christ,
Grace and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
We write to share greetings with you in these days when our shared thoughts and reflections are so focused upon the dramatic and sacred events surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We do so recognizing that these events took place in a real place, in the city of Jerusalem, and to express our appreciation for the long and always deepening relationship that we share with the living stones who are our Lutheran and Anglican partners in the Holy Land.
We are grateful for new opportunities for partnership that have been realized in recent years, in particular, an invitation for our two churches to serve as companions to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem as they work toward the goal of establishing a Full Communion relationship with one another.
As members of a small delegation from Canada that was invited to do this work on behalf of the Lutheran World Federation and the Anglican Communion last April, our prayers for the peace of Jerusalem are particularly fervent and heartfelt during this Holy Week. We are, therefore, inviting you to join us in this work of prayerful companionship in your own Holy Week observances and worship. We invite you to pray for the leaders and members of our partner churches, for government leaders and partners in civil society, for all who work for peace and reconciliation, and for all people of faith in this place that is sacred to so many of the world’s population.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
‘May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.’
For the sake of my relatives and friends
I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’
For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good. (Psalm 122:6-9)
May God grant you and those dear to you, a full and rich experience of the story of Easter-not a story that we Christians explain, so much as a story that explains we Christians!
Christ has died! Christ is risen! Christ will come again!
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