"Love wins": A message for Easter from Bishop Gates

"Love is not the alpha of creation but the omega.
It is not the starting point of the journey, but its final destination."  –Cynthia Bourgeault

More than once in my life I have taken a trip that took considerably longer than I had thought it would. Whether from wildly inaccurate map reading at the planning stage or unanticipated delays along the way, the destination was not reached anywhere near as soon as I had hoped.

“Are we there yet?” inquires the tired child from the backseat. “No,” replies the weary parent, adding inwardly, silently: “not even close.”

If, as Cynthia Bourgeault suggests, Love is the destination of creation’s journey, then it seems we are far distant from our end. Heartless powerplays, normalized falsification, callous self-centeredness, barbaric warfare. The "peaceable kingdom" our world is not. Are we there yet? Not even close.

So it is that we claim, proclaim, and enact our resurrection faith with renewed determination. The destination of our journey–Love–is in its fullness yet distant, and even much embattled. But its centrality to human existence, and its need for devoted pilgrims on the way, is blindingly clear. “The journey is essential to the dream,” said Saint Francis.  If Love is our destination, then Love must be made manifest on every leg of the journey, in every step, at every opportunity, in every word and deed.    

The Easter truth is that love wins.

Beyond the affirmation of Christ’s definitive victory over death on that Easter morn, we claim that victory for ourselves and our world. Beyond the story of a humble local rabbi triumphing over the self-perpetuating political and religious powers of his day, we declare God’s preferential care for the powerless in our day. Beyond the finery and feast of our Easter celebration, we proclaim this truth: Love wins. The dream is sustained by the journey, and our resurrection hope is sustained by our every glimpse of compassion, sacrifice, repentance, forgiveness, redemption, renewal, and love.  

We are not there yet, not even close. But I find my own pilgrimage sustained by the commitment and creativity of weary leaders–clergy and lay–around our diocese; by kind words in the face of anxiety or grief; by the new bloom of chionodoxa and daffodil beneath my window; by the witness of indefatigable racial justice prophets and refugee caregivers; by advocates for truth, love, and beauty in their every genuine manifestation, around this nation and around the world. These are resurrection sightings.

The Easter truth is that love wins. May you be sustained and renewed by this conviction once more! Easter blessings to you.

Faithfully and fondly,
The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates