Because of recent events, many of us find ourselves in a place we’ve never been: confused, afraid, maybe angry. We aren’t sure who to trust or what to believe anymore. The future has suddenly become more uncertain than we can remember. We don’t know what to expect or how to make plans. We wonder if our leaders and authorities are capable and effective. We are dispersed and unable to associate freely and publicly with our friends. Many of us feel alone with our thoughts, concerns and fears. After witnessing so much tragedy and suffering, we might even wonder if we can muster enough faith to trust God with our prayers. We ask ourselves: What can possibly happen next that might restore our hope? How will we comfort our families and loved ones? How will we revive our community? How can we, or will we ever again, be confident that God is in control? It might take a miracle.
Do these thoughts and words describe your response to the past few weeks? If so, please take heart because they also describe the people who loved and followed Jesus on that first Easter day. Try to imagine that you were a friend and follower of Jesus more than 2,000 years ago. Imagine that you were there when he was arrested, condemned, beaten, and crucified. Now, with those eyes, please read the previous paragraph again.
The first disciples and believers who embraced the teachings and promises of Jesus had to suffer through a tragically difficult time. His unjust death left them confused, angry and afraid. But the Easter miracle of his resurrection inspired them to a new and vibrant faith. It transformed them from fearful and isolated into a generous, compassionate and welcoming community.
That can be us, too! On this Easter morning that finds us unable to gather and worship together, we can still rejoice that Jesus is alive! Let’s determine anew to be the people who represent God’s love, joy, peace and abundant grace to those around us. Let’s prove that church is not a place; it’s us!
by John Hall, Easter 2020