Yesterday, we celebrated Easter with prayers of thanksgiving and with actions and symbols marking the significance of the resurrection of Christ. After having journeyed through Lent and Holy week with prayerful and practical intention it was delightful to hear and share the Easter acclamation of faith.
“Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised.” This message “do not be afraid” is in many ways the hallmark of good news. If you open your Bible and take a look around that incredible library of books you can’t help but notice God doesn’t want us to be afraid. Announced throughout Scripture by angels and messengers at key moments of tension and drama in the biblical story, it always heralds the restorative and empowering word of courage that is the very essence of faith.
What do you make of Matthew 27:8? “So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy?” I hear great honestly and connection for living as Easter people. Fear and joy mingle so often in our daily lives. To be human is to know that there’s actually much to fear in daily living. There are wars and ongoing military crisis. There are famines and natural disasters and countless personal and communal struggles. That being true, our faith reminds us time and time again that Easter creates the possibility for joy and hope and courage and so much more as we because it changes everything. Perhaps you’ve had this happen to you. The hope that seemed to have disappeared is suddenly rising up like creation in spring. The joy you thought forever gone is restored. When the stone is rolled away courage that seemed to be buried is front and centre. In the resurrection, we have God’s promise that life is stronger than death, that love is greater than hate, that mercy overcomes judgment, and that all the sufferings and difficulties of this life are transient real and palpable and painful and they don’t have the last word.
God has planted a seed of life in us that cannot be killed. Easter reminds us of this!
How will you celebrate this blessed 50 day Easter season? How will resurrection joy, new life in Christ, change us?
You could bless someone with your time. You could forgive. You could open your front door first thing in the morning and listen and allow your breath to settle into a deep and abiding rhythm as you become reacquainted with the sounds of spring.
One of my morning devotions put it this way, “Breathe deep. Live easy. Take a step toward heaven. Not by dying, but by realizing that death has been destroyed. Eternity has just begun. Christ is risen! Not as an isolated miracle, but as the first of many. Get ready. You might be next.”
We spent so much of our lives juggling fear and joy. This Easter season reminds us that JOY triumphs.
Finally, here’s a link to a tremendous gift of music. It’s a pure delight how this “Ode to Joy” grows and swells to include a symphony of musicians as pedestrians gather round. Do note the child who climbs the light stand for a better view and giving the conductor a run for his position. Splendid! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbJcQYVtZMo