We are in the Easter season in the church. Each year our Christian calendar gives us seven weeks to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. The defining and founding event of the Christian faith cannot be told in just one Sunday! Although truly we have 52 weeks each year to celebrate the resurrection, because every Sunday is like a mini Easter Sunday. Every Sunday we proclaim the good news that Christ is alive!
Our Easter message this year was from the passage in Mark 16: 1-8. It’s a resurrection story that ends so awkwardly. After hearing the greatest news in the world, the women leave the empty tomb scared and trembling. In their humanity they were not able to comprehend all that was going on.
In many ways, Mark’s resurrection story is very fitting for our world that has experienced an on-going pandemic, racial injustices, political unrest, natural disasters, and so much more over these last 14 months. Fear has been part of our natural emotional responses; not being able to fully comprehend, or unknowing, has been a part of our daily lives.
Just like the women, this past year and all its events can leave us shaken. The women left the tomb visibly shaken and fearful, speaking to no one as they left the passage says. But we know that's not the whole story, that‘s not the end. We know that these women did not stay silent for long. They went and told the rest of the disciples what they had seen and heard. Even in their fear and lack of full understanding, they did not abandon Jesus but drew closer, not knowing what to expect. In truth, it's not always faith versus fear, sometimes it's faith in the midst of, or even in spite of fear.
In a broken, hurting, and sinful world, the reality is that throughout life we all will encounter fearful times, desperate or scary moments for ourselves or our family and friends. We will have the same choice as these women on Easter morning. To walk in faith through our fear towards Jesus, or to walk away, to allow it to distance us from God.
The empty tomb on Easter morning reminds us that even in the darkest of circumstances, when hope seems vanished, God is still there. God is still working, still defeating the darkness, and is offering us new, abundant life in Christ. The truth of the resurrection is that God still shows up, still is present with us, and has not abandoned us! Our Savior is risen and we can come to him, fears and all, to be forgiven, receive God’s grace and mercy, and be redeemed!
I pray that God gives us the peace and courage to step nearer to him as we encounter the ups and downs, the joys, and sorrows, the knowns and unknowns of this life and that in drawing nearer to Christ we become beacons of hope in a world desperate for the Good News! Amen.