He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! When Mary Magdalene showed up at Jesus' tomb on that first Easter morning, she was not expecting to find that tomb empty. She was not expecting to see the resurrected Jesus in the garden, nor was she expecting the new life in Christ that comes from the resurrection.
The course of history and faith were forever changed on that day. A new hope was born. Hope that God, through the resurrection of Jesus, would offer us new life. Hope that death was not the end. Hope that God would fix this fallen world and end suffering forever.
When the season of Lent began in 2020, we did not expect that the world would be subject to a major pandemic. We did not expect to find an empty church on Easter Sunday. We did not expect that the pandemic would stretch into 2021.
When this finally comes to an end, we will be forever changed by the experience. We have lost loved ones and friends. Some from the pandemic and some to all the other causes of death. Grieving has been difficult because of limits on gatherings and social distancing. We are not limited to grieving our family and friends who have left us to be with the Lord. We also grieve the life we once new, the way things used to be. We wonder if things will ever be the same.
We might not be dead, but the pandemic may at times make us feel is if we are only half alive. As we approach Easter, we are reminded that the tomb was not truly empty. It was only empty of its one inhabitant, Jesus. But that tomb was full of hope and promise that death and the grave are not the end for the children of God. Something new and wonderful awaits us.
This pandemic will end! They always do. We may not know when or how, but it will end. We will see a new day. We will be forever changed. But we will also see our world and our lives in a new way. We will survive and triumph because we are people of hope, hope in the promises of God.
One of our congregation's favorite Easter hymns is "Beyond the Sunset". The song is about the dawning new day of God's kingdom at the Resurrection. It is a beautiful song loaded with comfort and joy at what will be. Of course the song skips over the fact that between sunset and dawn there is night. Just as the night of this world will someday end in the dawn of a new day in Christ, so will the night of this pandemic give way to a new day of a post pandemic world.
Have a Blessed Easter Season,
"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers..." Ephesians 4:11