April 1, 2010
Baptized into his death


The Rt. Rev’d C. Leopold Friday
Bishop of the Windward Islands

The rite of Holy Baptism is a mysterious reliving of the cross and the entry into darkness of the tomb before the rising to the new life of Easter. Those who have been baptized have shared in the suffering of Christ and will enter into a joyous share of his kingdom.{{more}}

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore, we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we, too, might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:3-11

Christ patiently suffered for our salvation – from the Garden of Gethsemane, to betrayal and arrest; from mocking and beating, to being brought before the Council; from the trial under Pontius Pilate, to being sentenced to death; from that painful journey to Calvary, to crucifixion, death and burial. Patience is one of the greatest virtues. It means waiting, endurance and lifelong perseverance. It speaks of God’s patient waiting for us to turn to him. This does not refer to being stoical or becoming a martyr. It is much more than that, it speaks of a mystery -we who through baptism now live in the risen Christ may be called to an experience which is unspectacular, but nonetheless we are to hold on, and not to give up. “I think of how often the psalms speak of steadfastness. If I see patience as closely allied to the vow of stability, I am helped to see how positive it should be, connected to joy and hope. And then when I turn my mind to the example of Christ in the garden of Gethsemani I see the ultimate example of patienta, suffering in obedience to doing the will of the Father-which is the prelude to the triumph of Easter.”

(Esther De Waal)

Christ has risen from the dead; he has come through the cross, the descent to the dead, to resurrection. By this he has overcome the darkness, and brings to us freedom from the powers of darkness, the forces of evil within us, and in the world.

In times of conflict and turmoil the world pressures us to find quick solutions. In an age of vast communication and technological advancement, patience has lost its place; there is a sense of urgency which impels us to seek to satisfy our needs and wants soonest, now. We have become so impatient that what matters most to us in the end in itself, by the quickest means possible. Consequently, many find it difficult and foolhardy to cope with, accept and understand the listening process adopted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and by extension the Anglican Communion in an effort to manage and resolve the present conflict.

However, the Easter message assures us of the value of waiting, endurance, longsuffering, lifelong perseverance and counting the cost. As we celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, may we focus our attention on what brought about the victory of Easter – The patient suffering endured by our Lord, being obedient to the will of the Father even unto death. May we who have been baptized, we who live in the risen Christ, open ourselves to his transforming grace and love, that we may desire and seek the virtue of patience and be advocates of its soundness. This does not mean that we are to be docile or become victims, rather, that we are prepared to endure hardship, ill pleasantry, ridicule, discomfort and distress in pursuit of the common good.

This Easter, may we proclaim this message to the world, and promote the listening process as a means of managing and resolving conflict. May the risen Christ rejuvenate us all as we share the joy of his resurrection.

Alleluia! Alleluia! The Lord is risen indeed. Come let us adore him. Alleluia!

I take this opportunity on behalf of my wife Lois, three daughters Marcella, Malaika, Mikayla and me to wish you all a Blessed Easter.

Your friend and Bishop