DeacPost “The First Easter”

But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ So, they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’ Matthew 28:5-10

For my congregation, the two-year period of pandemic restrictions that at first kept worship out of the church building altogether, then altered our worship when we could meet in the church building, was preceded by a two-year exodus from our space following a significant roof fire. We hadn’t had an Easter service in our own church since the spring of 2018!
The piled-on losses of the past four years dissipated in the grace-filled energy of this year’s Easter Sunday worship, however. We marked firsts for our building: the first Easter in our new space, the first Easter with music from the new organ, the first Easter live-streaming our service. We marked firsts since the pandemic began: the first time singing together in person (although still masked), the first time we could process to the front of the sanctuary to take communion, the first time of sharing coffee and snacks outside.
Oh, the joy and life in that worship service! You couldn’t help but talk about it with friends and neighbors in the days afterwards.
How much more joy must there have been for those that were present for the “firsts” on that first Easter morning! To see the empty tomb. To hear the news of resurrection. It’s no wonder that Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them could not contain what they had witnessed.
Prayer:  Life-giving God, when we feel weighed down by the losses in life, break in with your message of resurrection. Remind us of the empty tomb. Fill our lives with a sense of joy and wonder. Amen.

Deaconess Debbie Speer, Lisle, IL 

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