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“Alleluia! He is risen, indeed!”  This is the joyful shout of Easter.  Each year, through our celebration of the resurrection of the Christ, we remember how death was overcome by new life – fear was overcome by hope.  And this confidence is mirrored in our Easter theme this year, “Fear not!  Live in hope!

Did you know that the most common phrases in all of scripture are those that invite us to let go of our fear?  We hear “fear not,” and “do not be afraid,” from God, Jesus, angels, and prophets.  Of course, fear is difficult to put down (which is probably why the Bible reminds us so often to do so!).  We carry fears that are deep and personal, fears about the state of the Church, fears about the direction of the world, and other fears that come daily, or suddenly.  And we often cling to our fears.  We ask ourselves questions like “If I don’t worry about it, who will?”  We get lost in the web of “what if’s.”  Our fears can become part of our regular lives.

But that’s the very invitation of Easter.  A call to a new life.  A call to live differently.  What we see in Jesus’ resurrection is more than a miracle for one man.  More, even, than a mystical (if not confusing) salvation of all humanity, at work behind the scenes.  In the resurrection of Christ, we see that God is able to take even the things of greatest fear and sadness, and transform them into something that is life-giving.  Not only is God able do it, but the promise of Christ is that God is doing it in our lives, always, because we are so loved.  That means that whatever we fear or grieve, it is already in the loving hands of God, who will take care of it and breathe new life into it, and us. 

“New life” may mean, as it did for Jesus, the new life beyond this one.  It may mean a change in our lives that we only come to see as “life-giving” down the road.  It may mean a newfound sense of meaning or purpose that we celebrate with God’s Spirit right away.  However God brings about new life, the promise is that all things rest in the loving care of Christ – the One who knows what it is to have deep fear overcome by unrealistic hope.  When we’re able to embrace the hope that even our deepest fears are already covered by the love of God, we’re more able to hand parts of them over to God.  And, in doing so, we lighten our burden by that much.  And our lives, and how we experience fear in them, are changed.  This is the promise of Easter.  That, in the resurrection of Jesus, we see that we can live with less fear, if we want to.  What greater change to our lives in this world could there be!?

As we enter into this time of new life, I invite us to consider what fears we’re carrying right now.  What grief, worries, and burdens do you live with?  What would it look like for you to entrust them to God?  The Giver of Life and New Life is ready to care for them.  This is our hope, and our confidence.

The Hope and Joy of resurrected life be with us all this Easter season.

Peace in the Grace of Christ,

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