Easter is the day we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. It’s the most important day in the Christian year, and it’s my favorite Sunday every year!
Obviously this year is different. We’ve been worshipping only virtually for a month now, and we’ve been social distancing and ordered to stay-in-home for a month. By all accounts, we’ve got quite a ways to go before this is over.
Needless to say, we’re not where we expected to be today. Spring is supposed to be a time of joy, of hope, of rebirth and expectation. Instead, a lot of us are stressed and afraid. Anxious and depressed.
For some of us, the idea of ‘celebrating’ today feels strange, out of step with the reality of our world.
We would do well to remember that the first Easter broke into a world that was anxious and afraid.
Today, I want to invite you to take a journey with me – one that moves from fear to courage, from anxiety to hope. I want to ask what the Resurrection means for all of us living in the time of Coronavirus.
Remember where the disciples were at this time: only a week earlier, they had accompanied Jesus into Jerusalem, welcoming him as a conquering king. They were sure the week would bring victory after victory.
When they imagined this Sunday morning, they imagined themselves flanking God’s chosen ruler, watching him ascend to the throne of David to usher in God’s true rule.
Instead, the week went from bad to worse. The city of Jerusalem turned on Jesus. He was arrested. Condemned in a sham trial. And, barely 40 hours ago, he was crucified as a traitor to Rome.
Their week ended not in triumph, but defeat. And the worst part was that nearly every disciple abandoned Jesus. Peter denied he even knew Jesus. Only the Beloved, Jesus’ mother and Mary Magdalene made it to the foot of the cross. Of the hundreds who came from Galilee with him, only three saw where he was buried.
They thought Sunday would dawn on a triumphant Messiah. Instead, their Sabbath night was dark and full of terrors.
John’s story of the Resurrection opens on this Sunday morning, early – before the sun had even risen.