Tag Archives: ELCA

Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019 – ELCA

Getting a phone call in the middle of the night is never a good thing. I
remember the second time my father had open-heart surgery. It was a long procedure and a difficult one, and after it was done the doctor called us to his office and said, “There’s been some bleeding. We’ll let you know, but you should go home now and rest.” And so going home that night, I listened for a phone call in the middle of the night and was awakened only to find out it was morning and it was birds singing, not the phone ringing. My father had made it through the night, and in fact, he did recover from the surgery.

This is the joy we feel at Easter but magnified. All of the hope that had been dashed on Good Friday, the terrible pressure of grief, the terrible pressure of knowing there was no future in the world, only on Sunday to be greeted not by the ringing of a telephone announcing death but the loud clear singing of alleluias. This is the joy we have, and it’s a promise so strong that even when we do die, even when we do confront death, we have the hope and the assurance of eternal life.

Easter makes it possible for us, even at the grave, to sing alleluia.
Christ is risen. Alleluia.
Happy Easter, dear church.

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018 – ELCA

It all started with such promise – the angel announcing to
Mary that the child she would bear would be called Son of the Most High; the conviction of Mary that this child would be the embodiment of God’s promised justice, that the hungry would be filled with good things and the rich sent away empty; angels announcing his birth; thousands being fed; the sick healed; the dead raised.

And then, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It was over. The world hadn’t changed. Might still made right. How ridiculously naïve to believe that any reversal of the old order could come about. Hope is for the gullible. Looking at this broken man hanging utterly helpless, naked and broken on a cross, the powers and principalities, earthly and spiritual, death and the devil must have said, “You fool.”

This, as St. Paul reminds us, is the wisdom of the world. And the world can present plenty of hard evidence that it is right: children killing children in horrific school shootings, 60 million displaced people – all of this supported by our rebellion against God, our idolatrous claim that we are in control and the world is ours. In the face of this and all of the suffering others cause and we cause others, we, too, might cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

I believe that the beginning of Psalm 22 expresses the anguish of the
psalmist and the anguish of our Lord, but there is more going on here. Citing the first words of a text was, in the tradition of the time, a way of identifying an entire passage. The psalm ends this way: “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him. … Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.” This is the wisdom of God. Jesus’ crucifixion is the death of our death. His innocent suffering has reconciled all of creation to God. He has done it. We stake our lives on this.

This year, Easter falls on April 1. We shall have come through the Lenten desert to the Easter garden. We shall say, “Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!” And we shall confess this and live this in the face of worldly wisdom that is based on death. Life wins. Love wins. And if the world wants to call us April fools, we are glad to claim that title.

Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017 – ELCA

After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning,
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb.

So begins the Easter story in the Gospel according to Matthew.

The women had lived through the pain of Friday and
the emptiness of Saturday and were expecting death.
All of their hope had come to a dead end.

And just then, as the first day of the week was dawning,
hope was restored. The angel said, “Do not be afraid;
I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.
He is not here: for he has been raised, as he said.”

Instead of death – life. Instead of the end – the beginning.

On Easter, we will have glorious celebrations in our congregations
and worshiping communities. There will be rejoicing and music
and flowers and alleluias. And that’s a good thing.

But when the flowers fade and the pressures of life seem so heavy,
when the brokenness of this world breaks our spirits,
when we have come to a dead end … rejoice. Because it is exactly
there where the risen Christ meets us. It is precisely there where we
are given resurrection life. It is at that point that we say, Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed. Hallelujah.