8 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.
-Matthew 28: 8-9
Happy Easter! He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Halleluiah!
We have moved through the week. Palm Sunday we celebrated with the crowds in Jerusalem. We went forward in the week to the deep, deep despair that encloses the followers of Jesus as he dies on the cross. Not much, if anything is said about the time between the death and resurrection. The followers of Jesus were perhaps filled with grief entangled with fear and rage. Now what? If this was the Son of God, why is this the answer?
Today, we see women do what women do even in their darkest moments, they move forward to do what needs to be done. Mary and the other Mary (some say this is Mary the mother of Jesus) go to the tomb to care for Jesus’s body. Met by an angel, their world is rocked again. God did have an answer, Jesus was raised from the dead.
The interesting and really a poignant comment in the retelling by Matthew is the reaction by the women. It wasn’t just great joy, it was fear, too. We get to see Jesus, again! What does that mean? For Him? For us? I always imagined Jesus’s mother so relieved but still so sad. Her son is not really her son, anymore. He is the Messiah and he has saved the world.
So what does this Easter mean for us, in this time? How is our world rocked? The pandemic will continue for a while more. We will stay in isolation and be apart from loved ones. Still worry about getting “the virus”. And, we still will have other concerns that come along side at this time. Life still continues even during a pandemic.
So, we look to the answer that was given the first Easter morning. Even in our fear and sadness, what God wants most for us is to be filled with great joy. The story reveals to us that the hope and promise of resurrection does not take away the complexity of human emotion. But it does give us what is the answer to Jesus’s death.
Resurrection. Not just life after death. Life in the midst of death is here in this place. Everyday. In the morning, we get to see another sunrise with awe, in the warming sun, we are shaken when we watch a daffodil open, moved as we hold our babies (even from afar) and feel gratitude for this life together, to sigh when we hear our grandparents voice. That those moments bring to us new life even when we are afraid. A resurrected Jesus gives to us hope beyond hope, today and all the days to come.