Easter 2016 message from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

Posted Mar 23, 2016

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] “This world does not need another fairy tale,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry said in his Easter 2016 Message. “This week’s story of crucifixion and resurrection is not a fairy tale.”

Easter is Sunday, March 27.

The video is available here.

The following is the text of the presiding bishop’s Easter 2016 Message:

I actually love fairy tales and I used to enjoy reading them to our children when they were young and little.  Now to be sure those were the more sanitized fairy tales but there was something good about them, a way of confronting what was tough in life with genuine hope.  But they were fairy tales.

This week called Holy Week, the remembrance of Jesus entering Jerusalem and offering His life in the ultimate act of sacrificial love.  Good Friday, the experience of betrayal, the experience of friends abandoning you, the experience of injustice and wrong, criminal self-centered conspiracies.  And then beyond that Holy Week, the resurrection from the dead. This is not a fairy tale.

The truth is even as we speak this Holy Week, we do so not only in the shadow of the cross but we do so in the shadow of those who have been killed in Brussels, of those who have been wounded and maimed, of those who weep and mourn.  And of a world mourning, and not too sure how to move forward.  And this world does not need another fairy tale. This week’s story of crucifixion and resurrection is not a fairy tale.

Some years ago in the last century George McLeod, the founder of the Iona Community, had fought in the First World War, a war that he came to realize was fought for no good reason.  He eventually became ordained, and founded the Iona Community, and at one point he said this about this faith that we hold as followers of Jesus:

I simply argue that the cross be raised again at the centre of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church.  I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves, on the town garbage dump, at a crossroads so cosmopolitan that they had to write his title in Hebrew, Latin and Greek.  It was the kind of place where cynics talk smut, thieves curse, soldiers gamble.  That’s where he died.  And that’s where we as Christians ought to be and what we as Christians ought to be about.

This week called Holy, the season called Easter, the remembrance of death and the realization of resurrection, this is not a fairy tale, but the revelation of ultimate reality.  Now the truth is it’s easy to dismiss or discount whether by conscious conviction or by unconscious resignation to dismiss this as naïve, nice, but naïve.  It’s easy to dismiss it whether consciously or unconsciously as a great hope, a wonderful ideal, but not realistic in a world like this.  Maybe, parts of us I suspect wonder, maybe the strong do survive, maybe might does make right, maybe you better look out for number one. I suspect we all share those feelings once in a while.

But, I have to ask myself a question.  It’s not my question, it’s Dr. Phil’s, “How’s that workin’ out for ya?”  How’s that workin’ out for the world?  The truth is, the way the world very often operates is not working out.  It’s not sustainable.  It’s not the way to life.  Jesus has shown us the way.  He has shown us that unselfish, sacrificial love, love of God, and love of the other, is the way to life.  That, my friends, is the ultimate reality.  And that’s not a fairy tale.

When Jesus was executed, He was tried and convicted of crimes He never committed.  He willingly gave His life.  Not for Himself, but for others.  And in so doing, He showed us what love looks like.  That’s what we call the Way of the Cross.  And that Way is the way of life and hope.  And when He died, His closest followers feared that maybe the strong do survive.  Maybe might does make right.  And maybe we better look out for number one.  ‘Cause maybe the world has won.

But three days later, something happened.  Unexpected.  Undreamed of.  Unheralded.  Three days later their world turned upside-down which is right-side up.  God raised Him from the dead.  And you could almost hear God thundering forth in that resurrection.  Love, in the end, love wins!  Love is the way!   Trust me!  Follow me!  Believe in me!  This resurrection is real!  This is not a fairy tale!

So go forth into this world.  Don’t be afraid.  And don’t be ashamed to be people of love.  And go forth into this world and help us to change it from the nightmare it often is into the dream that God intends.

A blessed Holy Week, a blessed Easter, and go forth into the world.  Amen.
The Most Rev. Michael Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church


Comments (15)

  1. Karen I Ford says:

    Wow! This is the message for everyone, not just our Christian brothers and sisters.

  2. Rita Higgins says:

    Thank you so much for this sermon. It isn’t a fairy tale. It’s a story that should continue to be told. We serve a loving God.

  3. Jerry Emerson says:

    Yes, wonder where are the martyrs on Christ’s side? I mean are there Love bearers who are willing to risk all by taking His Love, to the disenfranchised. Maybe they (certainly not me) should be in the inner cities around the World, in the shelters, the homeless camps, prisons, etc. Are they willing to die for their Lord, without the sword , but activity displaying, not their, but His Love. Could it be possible that this is the only way to win a Spiritual war? Blessed me those who are already doing this.

    1. Frank Williams says:

      You have only to pitch in building with Habitat for Humanity or join a team doing a medical mission, or equipping people with clean water with Water With Blessings who are doing Jesus’ mission in our world. It’s humble,modest, human-scale, and beautiful.

  4. H R Walker says:

    We are all blessed by Christ’s gift for us.
    Christ has put us first and himself second.
    If every person does this then no person is second!

  5. Cole Benedict says:

    Yes, PB Curry is so very right. We can be let down and betrayed by our friends, even by our Bishop as we have been at St. James the Great in Newport Beach, CA, yet it is how we deal with the abuse and hurt that defines who we are in our own lives and in our life with Christ. This is why we at SJTG have stood up passionately to save our church, God’s house that was donated to always be a church in our community. We have persevered and remained faithful, supported our magnificent Vicar. We have not been afraid because we as a congregation believe we have been called to stand up to the injustice being done by Bishop Jon Bruno. What person of God would lock the doors of an unused church and keep people from worship for no reason. As PB Curry writes, we are people of love, we love our church, we love our faith, and we pray with God’s grace we will be able to again worship in our Episcopal home. We are standing up to change the nightmare created by Bishop Bruno and we ask for your prayers of love and assistance. Peace +

  6. Fanny Belanger says:

    Well, I think this is a fairy tale actually. I think the Gospel is the most wonderful fairy tale, and I think this what our scientist and down to earth world truly needs. To see the deep meaning behind facts. Fairy tales aren’t lies or nonsense, they all speak profound truths about human nature, life, God and if you read them closely there are all stories of Redemption – actually all stories are stories of Redemption in a way or another. The Gospel is for me The Story, the Story that speaks for all stories, from fairy tales to the stories of our lives. This is the story God spoke through Jesus’s life. Because Jesus is God’s word, God’s poetry, God’s truth.

  7. James W. Reed says:

    Yes, Jesus lives. He lives truest and surest in my heart, through the Holy Spirit. What a beautiful feeling, sometimes overwhelming.

  8. Hugh Hansen PhD says:

    Honorable presiding Bishop. Thank you for this glorious message introducing the most profound events in history. I am happy that you have not confused the imaginary world with the factual world in which Jesus lived died and rose from the dead! Further, I am happy that you showed that these happenings were the unveiling of divine love. I hope you will be able to write again to us about the challenge of loving. How do we really go about practicing love. It is not simply doing things but it is doing the right things and being the right person. There is much that I’m sure you could say on the subject of love. Thank you for your earnest preaching of the Word. Amen!

  9. Colin Smith says:

    I believe that Christ preached repeatedly in the scriptures that he would die and arise on the third day – Matthew 16:21, 17:23, Mark 8:31 and this was foretold in the OT. So it should not have been a surprise that he did what he said he would do, but the disciples didn’t listen.

  10. Cliff Buckwalter says:

    Having just watched the video from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry entitled, “We Don’t Need Another Fairytale,” I was profoundly moved by his beautiful, eloquent depiction of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. As many of you, I am a sojourner – walking in this world and yet trying not to be of this world…each day seeking, seeking, seeking the Father and yet often growing weary of the abuse and misery I see us causing one another in this world. Mainly because of our differences and the fears those differences evoke within us.
    Michael Curry mentions how, consciously or unconsciously, we might marginalize ourselves OR BE marginalized by others – perhaps being told we are naïve or simple minded in our beliefs. It called to mind a conversation I once had with a relative.
    In 1992, I returned to Pennsylvania from South Africa to attend the funeral of my mother. An emotional time to be sure. My two children, ex-wife and I had, at that time, been in that country for about a year and a half as the initial endeavor toward creating a church-to-church partnership between a church in West Chester and a church in Soweto. With everything happening politically, it was a difficult and amazing time to be in South Africa. Indeed, it turned out to be the bloodiest years of apartheid but finally giving way to real democracy!
    At the reception following the funeral, my brother, sister and I were moving amongst the small groups joined in conversation. Noting the trouble happening in South Africa then, Linda, one of my relatives asked me in an exasperated tone, “Cliff, what do you hope to achieve there?! It’s not like you and your family are going to cure racism!” True enough though I wished I could. The only thing I could think of to say was, “I just want them to see how I live.”
    Then in 1999, I was attending another funeral in Soweto – actually a vigil service – for an extended family member of one of our parishioners. It was our church and another church coming together to remember and celebrate the life of the deceased. I didn’t know the deceased but was merely representing our church. During the service, the minister from the other church noticed my presence (an easy thing to do) and said to all, “To honor this white man here, we will continue the service in English.” Which was helpful. By this time I had learned enough SeSotho – the language spoken in my church – to get by but the vigil, up to this point, had been spoken in Zulu. I was sort of lost.
    After the vigil service finished, I offered a lift to as many from my church as I could fit in the car. On the way home, Oos Kidi turns to me and says, “I have something funny to tell you. When the minister said there was a white man in the service, I began looking around wondering who it could be! I don’t think of you as white anymore!”
    Is there power in Christ’s redemption? Is that redemptive power at work in this world? Hey, Linda, here – finally – is the answer to your question.

  11. Stewart David Wigdor says:

    Thank you Most Reverend Primate Bishop.
    The greatest romance in life is to seek God for Jesus is the greatest Lover of us all.
    Even revealing His Own Body and Blood to be life within us onto Heaven and of God on earth. Our sins are forgiven and the meaning of virtue becomes doing works that glorify our God.
    To be a premie and love the Lord is the most incredalble Miracle to me and makes the Gospel the ultimate reality of the love of God all truth for all people.

  12. PJ Cabbiness says:

    A Christian Presiding Bishop. Thank you Lord!

  13. Wanda Bryan says:

    Bishop Michael, thank you for using the expression “fairy tale” of our Lord Jesus Christ, as I have people in my life that tell me I believe in a fairy tale when I express my belief. However it is the most beautiful tale of Hope, Faith and Love for REAL! They just don’t know what they are missing. I pray for them every day.

  14. Mark Setzer says:

    Bishop Curry! My name is Mark Setzer and you know my mother Barbara who served in the vestry with Whayne Houghland and you in the Saint Luke’s Church in Salisbury, NC. I am sorry I missed you while you were visting Whayne and the members of the vestry. I have been attending Holy Innocents and now I do not, and it is a long story, I hope you can come to Holy Innocents’ in Como, MS in June and I want you to change that church into a miracle church, I will explain it to you in due time. Please come to the Baddour Center in Senatobia, MS and I will be honored to give you a tour and etc. If you want to contact me e-mail me at marksetzer04@yahoo.com. May the Lord bless you during 50 days of Easter and throughout the year of 2016. Great job of you being the presiding Bishop. Mark

Comments are closed.