Alleluia! Christ is risen
Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Easter Message from Presiding Bishop Rev. Mark S. Hanson
“They found the stone rolled away from the tomb” – Luke 24:2
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Easter. It is about more than an open tomb. It is the good news of the risen Christ who opens lives.
Think about Jesus’ friends after his death. Their lives were closed down by fear,
disappointment and confusion. The risen Christ appeared saying “peace be with you” and opened their lives with a liberating word of reconciliation. In the same way Christ opens your life with a baptismal promise that joins your life to his death and resurrection. “You are my child. Nothing in all creation will separate you from my love.”
Even now Christ is opening your life, your daily work, your passions and imagination. Christ is opening your daily life into a holy calling that fills the world with love. At the Lord’s table, Christ is opening you into a community that can bear even suffering with confidence, and sorrow with hope.
The risen Christ opens the Scriptures — the full depth of God’s promise made to Sarah and Abraham now coming to life in the new creation. Even when everything else is being stripped away, the risen Christ opens you to God’s promised future.
Christ opens you to God’s work of forgiveness and reconciliation. Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, is opening this way of life for you.
Easter Message from Bishop Wolfgang D. Herz-Lane
At the crack of dawn on Sunday, the women came to the tomb carrying the burial spices they had prepared. They found the entrance stone rolled back from the tomb, so they walked in. But once inside, they couldn’t find the body of the Master Jesus. They were puzzled, wondering what to make of this … They left the tomb and broke the news of all this to the Eleven and the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them kept telling these things to the apostles, but the apostles didn’t believe a word of it, thought they were making it all up. But Peter jumped to his feet and ran to the tomb. He stooped to look in and saw a few grave clothes, that’s all. He walked away puzzled, shaking his head. Luke 24 : 1 – 4a, 9 – 12, as paraphrased in “The Message”
Puzzlement, shock, unbelief, head shaking, fear: all of the Gospel writers report that the initial reaction to Jesus’ resurrection from the dead was anything but glorious!
Let’s be honest. How would YOU have reacted in this situation? In our human experience, dead people are just that – dead! They don’t get up and walk around; they stay dead. The idea of a dead person coming back to life is so outside of our expectation, it’s little wonder that the women and the disciples reacted with fear.
But with God, all things are possible, even the seemingly impossible (Matthew 19:26); and so this Jesus, this rabble rousing country preacher and miracle-worker who during his life time rattled everybody’s cage and pushed everyone’s envelope, once again defies the conventional. He defies even death itself and in the greatest miracle of all secures victory over death not just for himself, but for you, for me, for all of us.
With God, all things are possible. The world is full of miracles if only we look for them. I was reminded of this glorious truth recently when I read this month’s newsletter of St. Mark Lutheran Church, Wilmington, Delaware. There was a quote from Martin Luther as an Easter message: “The conception and birth of every human creature … is no less a miracle and wonder-work of God than that Adam was made out of a clod of earth, and Eve out of a fleshy rib. The world is full of such works of wonder,” Luther preached on Easter Sunday 1544.
Oh that we would pay better attention and see God at work in our own lives! God creates wonder and miracles every day, we just have to look for all the blessings that flow from God. My prayer for you this Easter is that your faith may be strengthened, your life enriched by this message of Easter.
The body is gone! Jesus is alive! Do not be afraid!
Peace & Blessings,
Bishop Wolfgang D. Herz-Lane
Delaware-Maryland Synod, ELCA