With the COVID-19 infection spreading, it is bound to affect more and more of us. Whereas, in its early stages we were somewhat insulated from knowing people who were directly infected, that has changed dramatically. A number of our California-Pacific Conference laity from local churches and even some of our clergy have come down with the virus. For me personally, one of my former young adults and also a basketball friend both have passed away from the disease. Sadly, both of them have left young families, and the gravity of not being able to properly mourn due to social isolation has left them devastated. When it hits this close personally, one cannot help but to be deeply affected, and I grieve these loses and pray constantly for their families. As the virus continues to spread, more and more of us will be directly affected, and this is the reason we must continue to be in social isolation and follow the protocols set forth by our local civil authorities. I want you all to know that I am praying for you, and please stay safe.

Amidst my own grief, I have been buoyed and uplifted by all of your online Easter worship services! I am able to travel the whole annual conference geography, from Hawaii to San Diego to Palm Springs to San Luis Obispo to hear your Easter services. They have been deep and hopeful, and we are providing a powerful witness to each of our communities and beyond. I have heard people are checking out our online worships from across the country and even from other countries! Thank all of you for making this happen and spreading God’s message of promise and resurrection far beyond the walls of your church.

The words of inspiration today come from Justo Gonzalez:

Today we live in the horrible midnight of COVID-19. What we always knew that one day we shall die, has become an urgent reminder. Therefore, as always in the darkest hour of the night, it is time to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. As death surrounds us, it is time to celebrate Life. To celebrate it, not with shouts and lighthearted parties, but with humility and faith.

In short, there is a powerful word onto which we hold even in the midst of the present crisis. Let us celebrate the feast!

HE IS RISEN INDEED!

–Dr. Justo Gonzalez

Until next week, be the Hope!

Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop