Christ is Risen!
Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!
Following the darkness of the crucifixion on Good Friday, we were greeted with the joy of the resurrection on Easter morning. We can celebrate the joy of the resurrection, knowing that we are separated from those events and unknowns by over two millennia.
Yet, as I heard and read several pastors remind worshippers, the original Easter morning was not a day of celebration. Instead, it was a day of sorrow, fear, and anxiety. The disciples were locked behind a closed door and the women who went to the tomb were frightened when they saw the angels. There were no family brunches and Alleluia choruses on that first Easter.
While it is good to celebrate the joy of the resurrection with worship and song, it is also important to remember that it was not all roses and celebrations that first Easter. This was not how it was supposed to happen. Rather than a conquering hero riding to victory, Jesus had died by execution. The disciples and other followers of Jesus were in hiding as they waited to see what would happen, when would the other shoe drop.
However, with the events of Easter morning the followers of Jesus came to realize that Jesus had defeated death. The world was not suddenly perfect, the challenges of hunger, illness, oppression, and human hardship were still present. Yet, Jesus’ call to treat others as they would want to be treated and to care for those who were hurting took on even more importance as Jesus demonstrated that even death could not end his ministry.
The disciples and followers of Jesus began to share the Good News of Jesus’ saving death and resurrection as they went out into a broken world and cared for those who were hurting. What was meant to be the end of Jesus, instead strengthened the faithful and furthered the ministry of Jesus in new and magnificent ways.
After the past year, many unknowns and uncertainties remain in our lives. It can seem comforting to close ourselves behind locked doors and wait for the other shoe to drop. Instead let us follow the advice of the angel in the empty tomb and “Don’t be alarmed.” (Mark 15:6 NRSV)
Even as we face the challenges and unknowns of the post Easter world, let us remember we are not alone and do not need to be afraid because . . . Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!!
Grace and peace, Bill Rev. William "Bill" McLean, II Presbyter for Congregational Care Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois