Alleluia! Christ is risen
Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Easter Messages from Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson
and Bishop Wolfgang D. Herz-Lane
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Christ is risen! Imagine the power in those words of promise.
When the disciples first heard Jesus speak of his death and resurrection, “they kept the matter to themselves” (Mark 9:10). But the news is too good to keep to ourselves. The life of Jesus Christ has been unleashed into the world.
Because Christ is risen, you can embrace life’s complexities and uncertainties with a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. The risen Christ goes ahead of you, meeting you in the most surprising faces and unexpected places. Christ’s resurrection puts us right where God wants us to be — in the thick of life.
Because Christ is risen, you have a word of hope. To those weary from mourning loss and fearing death, the assurance is given that nothing in all creation will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
The life of Jesus, God’s own life, has burst into the world, restoring community. At the barriers we erect to divide us, the risen Christ meets us, turning those walls into tables of reconciliation. To those who live in fear and feel unworthy, the promise is given. “You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).
Every morning you awaken with the mark of Jesus’ death on your forehead and the promise of Christ’s resurrection on your lips.
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
In God’s grace,
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
(John 20 : 1-2, NIV).
One thing you can say about God: God sure is consistent.
First, he decides to have his only begotten son enter the human race in a filthy old stable with a feed box for a crib … what a laugh!
Then, Jesus runs around the Galilean countryside and seems to like nothing more than to consort with tax collectors and thieves and prostitutes and immigrants, with outcasts and with sinners … ridiculous!
Finally, Jesus gets himself killed, nailed naked to a rough cross, executed in the most gruesome way known to humankind … downright scandalous!
And now, in the moment of his greatest glory, at the moment of resurrection and new life, he chooses a woman to be the first witness of this resurrection!
A woman! God is nothing if not consistent, and at every turn, he surprises us with the unexpected.
In Jesus’ day, women were the property of their fathers and husbands. They had no rights, could not own anything, could not testify in a court of law by themselves. And yet it is Mary Magdalene, a woman of allegedly ill repute, who is the first at the empty tomb and so becomes the primary witness to the greatest and most important event in all of human history.
It is that event that has shaped us, has shaped the world, ever since. In Jesus’ resurrection, God has said a loud and final NO to death and the grave. God has rolled away not just the stone that sealed the tomb but the huge rock that blocks our lives. God has rolled away the large stone that keeps us from seeing and from sharing God. God has rolled away the boulder that stands between us and God.
You know the expression, don’t you, “that’s a huge weight off my mind?” When you worry about something, when some situation really weighs you down, and then, unexpectedly perhaps, the situation gets resolved, and you say: that’s a huge weight off my mind.
Well, friends, I am here today to tell you that in rolling away that rock in front of that tomb all these many Easters ago, God has taken a huge weight off your soul. With God, all things are possible, and whatever that rock is in your life that weighs you down, whatever sin is eating at you, whatever addiction has gotten hold of you, whatever broken relationship or illness has you captive, whatever the burden is that you are carrying,
Let God lift that burden
Let God roll that stone away
Let God do the impossible in your life.
The body is gone! Jesus lives!
Alleluia and Amen.
Wolfgang D. Herz-Lane