Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015

Alleluia! Christ is risen
Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Easter Message from Bishop Wolfgang D. Herz-Lane

So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Mark 16:8a

Terror and fear in response to the resurrection? Dead silence from those whom Jesus commissioned to spread the Gospel?

Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome ran off in panic, reports Mark in the shorter ending of his Gospel. The young man they had encountered at the empty tomb had told them to “go and tell,” but they do exactly the opposite: “they said nothing to anyone.”

The women must have gotten over their shock, though, because Mark goes on to say that “they told briefly to those around Peter” (16:18b). And what a good thing that is! Had the first witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection kept quiet, you and I would not gather on Easter Sunday to celebrate the new life that God has given to us in Jesus Christ!

This story is worth telling. We today may be afraid, too. We may think our faith is a private matter and that we might offend someone by bringing it up. After all, aren’t money and politics and religion taboo subjects at cocktail parties lest disagreements mar the moment?

But living as a disciple of Jesus is living as a risk taker. This Easter, let’s make a new covenant with Jesus and with each other. Each day of this Easter season, let’s pray daily for strength and courage, and then let’s face the day in Easter hope and resurrection joy and tell at least one other person why we are so happy.

Alleluia, Christ is risen! YES, he is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Peace & Blessings,

Bishop Wolfgang D. Herz-Lane
Delaware-Maryland Synod, ELCA

Wolfgang

 

Easter Message from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Gospel of Mark ends abruptly. The women came to the tomb to care for the body of their friend and Lord. They expected death. Seeing the stone rolled away, they entered the tomb; they entered into death. They didn’t find Jesus. Instead, they saw a young man, who told them not to be amazed, that Jesus had risen. This same stranger told them to tell the disciples and then head to Galilee. Is it any wonder that terror and amazement seized them?

We are on the other side of the first Easter. We have grown used to the story of the resurrection. The good news brings hope and comfort. It brings freedom and joy. But I don’t think it causes terror and amazement. Maybe we are missing something. The Greek word for amazement, “ekstasis”, means “change of place.” And that is what has happened to us and all of creation because of the resurrection. Before Easter, we stood in a place of sin and death. After Easter, we stand in a place of forgiveness and life. Everything has changed. We are not the same. The world is not the same. The deadly, but familiar, way of the world can no longer be counted on. This new reality of forgiveness, life and salvation is and should be unsettling. Terror and amazement indeed!

The world is turned upside down. It might look the same, but we are standing in a different place. Christ is risen. We are risen. Alleluia!

Blessed Easter,

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

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