Bishop’s Easter Greeting

Watch Bishop Jeffrey Clements’ video Easter greeting.


Hello, I’m Bishop Jeff Clements of the Northern Illinois Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

I’m about to tell you something I think you don’t know.

I’m allergic to Easter!

Well, maybe not Easter. I’m allergic to Easter lilies, and I found out kinda the hard way.

One Easter Sunday morning I came to church, unlocked the door, walked into the narthex, and as soon as I got in, I could smell the wonderful fragrance of those Easter lilies.

There were more lilies that year than ever before, and they were beautiful. They adorned the entire sanctuary – everywhere around the altar.

And it was fine, except somewhere along the line during the service, I started to get a runny nose. So, I’ve always got kleenex around or a kleenex box. That wasn’t the problem, but when it came time for communion, I went to the altar, and that was when it really hit.

I got to, “In the night in which He was betrayed,” and then I took a breath and it sounded like I had asthma or something. It was a gasp, and started to cough, and I could not stop coughing. I had to go into the sacristry.

The congregation was really worried about how I was actually doing, because I could not breathe.

It was truly a breathless moment on that Easter Sunday morning.

There was a breathless moment in the Easter story, too.

Here recently, I’ve been studying the book of Luke, and I’ve been reading the Easter story. There’s a breathless moment there where, after the women have come and told the disciples that the tomb is empty, Peter runs to the tomb, and when he gets there, I can only imagine that he couldn’t breathe, that he was just out of breath.¬†And then he knew that the news was true.

If I had a wish for you for this Easter it would be that you would have a breathless moment as you hear the Gospel read on Sunday morning. That you would hear it with new ears, as if you had never heard it before.

I think we take the Easter story so much for granted that we miss the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and what it means to our lives.

So this Easter, when you go to church, when you hear the words of the Gospel proclaimed, I pray that you will have a breathless moment – not one that requires a trip to the sacristry, but a breathless moment that will give you great faith.

Until next time, I’m walking with you.