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An Easter Like the Very First One

In the middle of a pandemic, we learned that the awe of Easter is here and always will be.

An Easter like no other.
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Easter wasn’t really the same this year, was it? Having to worship remotely, not singing together in a church that smelled of fresh-cut flowers. No big Easter egg hunt in the yard afterwards.

But maybe the way we feel right now is similar to how those first followers of Jesus felt when they were confronted with the miracle of Easter. Fear, bewilderment, awe. When I look at the Bible stories of the Resurrection they help me find hope in the moment that is now. These are a few of the lessons I’m learning: 

Fear is only natural.

At the end of the Gospel of Mark, we see this reaction to the empty tomb: “So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”

They were afraid. Unwilling to share the good news with anyone. Jesus had to appear to His disciples more than once for them to take it in. Even if it was what He had been telling them all along.

It’s hard to recognize the power of the Resurrection.

One of my favorite stories, from the gospel of Luke, is about Jesus’s appearance to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

They don’t recognize Him. They seem amazed that He is unaware of the events that have just happened, the Crucifixion. He goes on to describe the sense of it, but still, they can’t take it in.

It was only when Jesus sits at the table with them and breaks bread that they know Him. He had been with them that whole way. Like He is with us the whole way. Even now.

The proof is deep inside us.

I’ll admit, sometimes I’m a bit like Doubting Thomas. I want to see proof. I want some evidence. Thomas knew the other disciples had seen this Risen Lord. Why hadn’t he?

“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side,” Thomas says, “I will not believe.” A miracle? Show me, we say.

But when Jesus does appear to the disciples and says to them, “Peace be with you,” Thomas gets it in an instant. No proof necessary. Jesus’s presence is enough.

That presence has never left. Easter is here. Right now. Always has been. Always will be. Despite our fears. Despite our doubts. God didn’t leave us then, and He certainly hasn’t left us now. 

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