Without Easter, there is no message of resurrection hope. Without a mission, there is no church.
I am so glad we can tell the story over and over that the tomb is empty and our Savior lives!
In Matthew’s Gospel, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary become the first witnesses to the empty tomb.
But the angel said to the woman, “Don’t be afraid. I know that you are
looking for Jesus who was crucified. He isn’t here, because he’s been raised
from the dead, just as he said. Come, see the place where they laid him.
Now hurry, go and tell his disciples, ‘He’s been raised from the dead. He’s
going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ I’ve given the
message to you.”
– Matthew 28:5-7 (CEB)
The message the angel has for those at the empty tomb is to go and tell the disciples. They leave the tomb with fear but also with joy. This Jesus whom we worship is our resurrection hope and the center of our joy.
The one they thought was forever gone meets them and greets them. How is this possible? God is the ultimate promise keeper and tells us over and over not to be afraid.
In this time in the life of The United Methodist Church, the Easter message is desperately needed. Death does not have the final say.
So what is needed in these turbulent uncertain times? People willing to live and go and tell that our Savior lives. As the Wesley Study Bible Commentary on Matthew 28 says, “The mission of the church today, as it was for the early church, is to reconcile us to God. But first, we must be reconciled to our sisters and brothers. Reconciliation for the flourishing of all life is what being a disciple of Jesus is all about.”
What do I (we) have in common with those we disagree with? What do we have in common with those we don’t know? We are all precious in the sight of God and recipients of God’s grace through Jesus Christ.
Last Sunday, Palm Sunday, I baptized our granddaughter who is nine months old. Before the laying on of hands with the waters of baptism, the congregation was asked to nurture one another in the Christian Faith and include baby Corrine in their care. Their response was first to say, “With God’s help, we will proclaim the good news and live according to the example of Christ.” A commitment to pray for and surround the newly baptized with love and forgiveness was essentially a recommitment to be the Church alive for others, always with room for more.
Let us proclaim the good news this Easter season and live according to the example of Christ. We sing what we believe, “Because He lives I can face tomorrow, because He lives all fear is gone, because I know who holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives.”
Be encouraged with the joy of the resurrection,
Bishop Julius C. Trimble