Easter Sunday, April 16
“... they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.” Matthew 28:8.
We usually think of joy triumphing over other emotions, but as the women heard the message of the angel and left the empty tomb, they were filled with both fear and joy. Sorrow had been turned inside-out and upside-down with the angel’s news, but with Christ’s resurrection, everything was going to be new and different and, honestly, more than a little scary, too. They had come to the tomb to pay their respects, to shed more tears of sadness, to work through their grief. They had clear expectations: an earthquake, an angel, and the absence of the body of Jesus were not among them. Yikes!
As the women left the tomb, a new understanding of Jesus’ words was echoing through their consciences. What that stuff Son of God, Messiah, Savior, Christ, King Jesus had been talking about was true in a way different from what they had expected. This was their great AHA! moment, and it had left them scared. Life had been somewhat predictable. Not anymore! The status quo had been ripped away. Change had taken its place. Yikes!
The angel knew that would happen, of course. Three verses earlier, he begins his proclamation to them with the words, “Do not be afraid.” Those are common words in Scripture when it comes to Jesus! He says these words, and they are said about him.
Having some fear does make sense when we’re talking about Jesus, because he is God who got intimately involved with the humans at a particular time in history and with humanity for all time. He is mystery, utterly beyond our comprehension. And his birth, death and resurrection changed things permanently. The logic of this earth was suddenly and totally inadequate to explain the breadth, length, height and depth of God’s unconditional love, which had been given to these women - and which has been given to us - and which cannot be taken away.
Sing your “Alleluias” with joy today. Keep singing them tomorrow. And if there’s a bit of fear in your singing, remember the women at the tomb, and know that fear is understandable and acceptable because Jesus has risen, and things will never be the same!
Rev. Mari Larson
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