Read: Matthew 28:1-7
This is not the Easter we had planned. Not the Good Friday we expected. It was going to be all spring and celebration, a time to rejoice in new life and the power of the Resurrection.
We planned to share our worship in the company of the family of God. To gather and raise our voices in praise to the risen Lord. We planned to enjoy time with friends or family, in person—face to face.
Instead, we’re alone at home—or working under unusual stress—waiting, watching, dealing with many losses and griefs, navigating an isolation unfamiliar to many of us, with daily questions and adjustments. It feels like a season that is “always winter, never Christmas” (to borrow from The Chronicles of Narnia).
Perhaps we’re closer than we realize to the disciples and their experience that first Easter.
In a few short hours, the men and women who had followed Jesus found their lives tossed upside-down. Three years of promises, miracles and teaching suddenly evaporated as they saw Jesus’ horrific death on the cross. Fear and pain pushed them into isolation. They were filled with questions and grieving their loss. Good Friday didn’t seem good at all. And the silence that followed did nothing to restore their faith and equilibrium.
Did the promises of God hold true in those days? Yes. Were the prophecies and work of the Messiah-Savior fulfilled? Yes. But do you think that in their grief and loss, the disciples remembered that truth any better than we do when faced with our own trials? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
We do know that when the Resurrection morning dawned, they were not enjoying a corporate celebration, a full brunch or egg hunt. The first words of hope reached their ears and they were incredulous, surprised, even disbelieving. It was only in the evening, gathered fearfully in hiding, that understanding clicked into place and they were able to rejoice in His resurrected presence.
As we face this unusual Easter, removed from the holiday’s usual activities, may we find ourselves freshly aware of the glorious event we celebrate.
Yes, it is rooted in loss and grief, in the shadows of death, because Jesus died. He died for your sin, for mine, for the sin of every person in the world. He carried the weight of our sin, the pain of our losses, the fear of our hearts, and covered them all with His sacrifice.
And let us celebrate with hope because Jesus is alive!
He conquered death and the grave. He broke the power of the enemy, so we can enjoy a new and everlasting life. He sent the Holy Spirit to empower and guide us each day. He gave us the gift of prayer so we could intercede for others and share every worry, every dream, every need with the Father. And He made it possible for each person to live in hope, not bound by sin but at peace with God, no matter what this world throws our way.
This is good news! Good news that every person in our world today needs to hear and deserves to know. This is the Good News that conquers the darkness of our world, carrying hope and life to those who hear and believe.
In whatever way you celebrate the Resurrection this year, do all that you can to share this Good News with someone who desperately needs the joyous message of salvation through Jesus Christ.
–Barb Gerhart, Global Disciples