“Do not be alarmed;
you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth,
who was crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.
Look, there is the place they laid him.”
- Mark 16:6
Dear Alarmed Faithful:
Does hope give you a feeling of unease? It did to those women that Easter morning. Early, at around sunrise, on Sunday, the women that first arrived at the grave found an open tomb and a promise of life after death. They had gone there fully in the state of grief. They were mourning the loss of a loved one they cherished greatly and had lost to death in such a horrible way. Now they arrive at the grave and found the stone rolled away and the dead body of Jesus gone. It happened just as Jesus had prophesied, that on the third day he would rise from the dead. His lifeless body was not there, he was alive again after death. The resurrection was real. Yet the first words the angel tells them, is “Do not be alarmed”. They have to be told not to be frightened or distressed because of the resurrection that changes the world. Apparently, this amazing gift of life out of death had upset them so much they had to be reassured that everything would be okay.
Sometimes, in our rush to seek hope in times of worry or distress, we might also need to pause and hear that reassuring message: He is risen. There is Life. It has begun. Easter is about hearing that assurance that comes with Christ’s resurrection to life eternal. The peace of that message gives us a hoped calmness even in the face of distress or mourning.
Even in this time of pandemic, we continue to hear that reassurance. While we still do everything here at the church to keep each other safe by masking and washing hands, we look forward. While we start to work in a return to the responsive psalm reading this Easter and a return to in-person singing probably this summer, we look forward. While we are making plans to return to full worship and regular distribution of Holy Communion this Fall, we look forward. Even as we are uneasy because everything in this world seems so out of control, we look forward. We look forward to that great day of the Lord that began that Easter dawn and is still being fulfilled through the love of God. May you not be alarmed. The world may seem uncertain, but the power of life in God is certain now and forever. Jesus is our Lord and Savior. He is risen!
In the peace and grace of God, Pastor Kirk Griffin