Easter Morning 2020...
Easter 2020 will be remembered by so many. It feels strange to remain home without going to church to celebrate with all our fellow believers. We usually get more dressed up than usual. But the joke now is do we wear pants? That is for those who are on video conference. And we will virtually gather today.
As I reflect on our gospel from Matthew today, I find that we can relate to those first witnesses to Christ's resurrection. First, they were in a small group together. As we "shelter-in-place", we too are in a small groups together. Emotionally, we are right there with the women who were going to the tomb: sorrow, fear and joy.
Sorrow. Those ancient believers were filled with sorrow. Remember, they have yet to see the resurrection. They have lost their friend and leader. Yes, Jesus told them he would overcome the grave; but when did they listen to Jesus? Today, this Easter morning, we too know sorrow. We know sorrow for those who lost their battle with COVID; but more closer to home we long for the time when we could gather to celebrate with handshakes and hugs.
Fear. As I read the Gospel, I wonder how I would feel if I ran into an angel with glistening white robes. Fear would probably be up there. Then to run into the resurrected Jesus - again, fear would be appropriate. And Jesus knows this saying "Do not be afraid." He knows us so well. Today, we live in fear of the Coronavirus. Just shopping for groceries is a major endeavor - mask, gloves, remaining 6 feet apart at the checkout line and washing all the packages.
Joy. Great joy to be specific. Our NRSV version states great joy. More than a little joy. More than a small smile. We celebrate with gusto that our God loves us so much that he gave his only son for us. That today His son conquers death and gives us the hope of eternal life. This is cause for celebration - whether it is Easter Sunday as usual or Easter Sunday in a strange new way.
So today, in our teleconference and in our homes, let us shout Alleluia! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!
Sorrow gives way to “fear and great joy” when two women are sent by an angel to proclaim the good news: Jesus is risen!