He is Risen and Hope Lives
Today, we are living through an unprecedented Easter season. Church has moved from the church building to our living rooms. Worship is streamed through our TVs. And the body of Christ is coming together through the power of technology.
Over 2,000 years ago, Easter looked a lot different than it does in modern times. The setting was simple. There was no Easter service, only a few people witnessing the promise of Jesus….an empty tomb.
Luke 24:1-7 (NLT) tells us this.
“But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what He told you back in Galilee, that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?”
This week, Christians across the world celebrated Holy Week. Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday, the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem surrounded by people praising and proclaiming him as the Son of God. This week for Jesus started on a high and for many people (his disciples included) ended on a low….or so they thought.
As we reflect on Easter Sunday, we can either look at these last few days of Jesus’ life as just another regular mundane week or we can look at them as the most powerful week in HisStory. How we look at the events of the week is the difference between life and death.
We can look at the events of the last week of Jesus’ life as Bad Friday, No Hope Saturday, Dead Sunday or we can look at these events as Good Friday, Hope Saturday, Resurrection Sunday.
Quarantine life and social distancing has given us a unique experience. Just as with the events of the Holy Week, how we look at these events will define our experience. Yes, for many of us our work environment has changed. Some are working from home. Some are essential workers that have to be at their workplace. Some have found themselves without the ability to work for the time being. And some have found themselves on the frontlines in the battle against COVID-19. But even though we have different circumstances, we have all been given a chance to spend this time with God and reconnect with our families. And yes, we can’t see friends and family in person. But thanks to advances in technology, we are able to still find ways to connect and stay in touch. And yes, we can’t gather together at the church building to celebrate Easter this year. But just as we learned from the original Easter Story, the tomb is still empty. Hope still lives. And no matter where we are, he is risen indeed.
I want to challenge you this Easter to experience Christ and experience God in a new way. This new way of life has given us the opportunity to lean into God in a way unlike we have before. COVID-19 has stopped public gatherings. It has stopped community events. It has closed many of our favorite businesses and establishments. But one thing it can’t stop is God’s unwavering love for us and the hope found in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Christ experienced Good Friday, Gave Saturday and Resurrection Sunday for your Grace. Why? To give you a hope and a future. Through his actions, He has taken our sins and given us a new life. An abundant life. And best of all, an everlasting life. God’s Love gives you a choice and today, let’s make a choice to choose hope.
Pastor Larry Otwell, Executive Director