We remain in an interesting, uncertain time as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus this Easter Sunday.
Last year the crisis of COVID-19 had just begun. We were staying at home. Worship services were done online. We were just beginning to learn about Zoom meetings and Facebook Live for our work and our church.
Now as more people get the vaccine, we are having a renewed hope about life returning to a new shape. But we are not there yet, and we are called to remain vigilant and careful.
And before we fully embrace that hope for our world, I would encourage us to reflect on this past year in light of the death and resurrection of Jesus. For, as I wrote last year, we are not far from where the disciples were on that first Easter.
As we have experienced grief, so the disciples also grieved: the one they followed had died and perhaps the worst death possible in crucifixion.
As we have been afraid, so the disciples were terrified: they knew that the death Jesus had gone through might very well await them. They did not know if guards would be coming for them next.
As we have been uncertain and confused, so also the disciples: they had no idea what the future would hold … or even if they had a future.
Yet, Jesus came to them. Jesus revealed new life to them. Jesus reassured them that God would always be there and never leave them. And he further promised that he would empower them to bring God’s love to the world around them.
And that is the promise for us: in the midst of our uncertainty and fear and anxiety, God comes to us in Jesus. Hope does not die. God is here. And even when we were not physically gathering, God’s love and God’s spirit were and are moving among us and through us.
So we are empowered by that risen Jesus to be the presence of Christ for one another.
We have an opportunity to live out what it means to be the presence of the risen Jesus in these uncertain times.
The resurrection of Jesus is not simply about the resuscitation of a body. The resurrection makes a truth claim upon us that we are called to live into and realize. And as we claim this promise in this time of the pandemic, we also claim the resurrection for all our despair and fear and uncertainty in life. Christ is risen indeed!
Do you despair about the hatred and injustice in our communities and world? The resurrection proclaims that injustice does not have the last word. We did our worst to Jesus, to silence the voice of God that calls for freedom, peace and justice. Yet, despite our violent efforts, God’s message will not be silenced. The resurrection says that God’s vision of a just and peaceful world will win out in the end, even when the days look dark. With every cry of “Me too” or “Black lives matter,” we witness the resurrection anew. Claim the resurrection and live into God’s vision that will eventually win. Christ is risen indeed!
Do you grieve over the loss of a loved one? Do you fear your own death? The resurrection proclaims that death does not have the last word. As God-made-flesh, Jesus endured even our death. But death is not the end of the story. As God raised Jesus from the dead, so shall God raise us all on the last day. Claim the resurrection, and be comforted in knowing that we will all be in the arms of a loving God. Christ is risen indeed!
Do you feel burdened by guilt and regret? Do you feel blocked by sin and wrong choices? The resurrection proclaims that sin does not have the last word. We identify with Jesus in his death, so that we might identify with Jesus in his life. In Jesus, our old self is put to death on the cross, so that we might begin again with the promise of God’s forgiveness. Claim the resurrection, and walk in newness of life. Christ is risen indeed!
Experience Easter in all its fullness, as a present and future reality. Let this be the beginning of a new life for you, a life found and shown in Jesus. Christ is risen indeed!