Easter begins in darkness: the darkness of a pre-dawn morning as women walk through sleeping city streets to the tomb of their beloved rabbi. Grief-stricken and shocked, they are unaware of the glorious sunrise that awaits them, when they discover the empty tomb and hear the news that Christ is Risen.
There’s a sense in which this long pandemic season has felt like the darkness of a pre-dawn morning. We wait for the sun to rise, hoping that our life will soon be restored to normal. We grieve the many changes we’ve seen in our world over the past year: the disease, deaths, conflicts, injustice, economic losses, racism, and deep political divisions we have been shocked to experience. Although hope is on the horizon for the pandemic, as many more people receive vaccines and some of us begin to come out of our isolation, there is always the chance of a resurgence that will take us back a step. And a part of our deprivation this year has been the loss of something that brought so many of us comfort and joy: the beloved church community coming together to celebrate Christ’s life among us. This Easter, though some churches will be back together in person, our crowds will be smaller because of pandemic restrictions, and we won’t have some of the beautiful music and glad hugs we have associated with so many Easters gone by.
That’s when it helps to remember that Easter is not just about joy: Easter is about joy inexplicably arising out of sorrow. Easter is the shocking, world-upending news that a world that believes in a story that ends on a cross must adjust to a new story that begins in an empty tomb. Easter is the assurance, against all this world believes, that death is not the end: God’s life and God’s love triumph even over death. Easter is the profoundly good news that Jesus is alive and loose in God’s beloved creation, and that means that God’s New Creation can manifest itself anywhere, anytime, even in this conflicted, pandemic-afflicted, injustice-plagued world.
This Easter, let us remember all those who need to hear the good news of Christ: those who are grieving, those who are afraid, those who are separated from family, those who fear losing jobs or homes. Let us pray for those who suffer, whom God has entrusted to our care, including the unaccompanied migrant children whom our diocese has been asked to aid with spiritual care. Let us act in bold faith that God’s church has a mission to proclaim the good news of Christ even through pandemic restrictions, to a world that needs that good news now more than ever. Let us experience the life of Christ among us, this Easter Day and every day.
Jesus is risen, and the world is made anew. Alleluia! Christ is Risen Indeed.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Susan Brown Snook
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