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How to Hold the Promise of Easter Forever

There’s always hope of new life—not just on one Sunday in spring but day after day after day.

Easter lillies
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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Doesn’t it feel like this Easter will be like no other? Not just the promise of spring and the Resurrection but the hope for an end to social distancing as more people get vaccinated and more of life opens up. Hope. Hope eternal.

And yet, Easter always offers this hope of new life. Year after year. Forever. Easter doesn’t only occur on the Sunday after that first full moon in spring. It happens every day of the year. The kingdom of God was launched when the stone rolled away from that tomb some 2,000 years ago, and it has never left. Easter forever. Here are some ways to keep that promise with you.

Pray through the fear. What are the first words those long-ago visitors to the tomb heard? “Be not afraid.” Their fears seem perfectly understandable. Not only had they witnessed the monstrous killing on the cross of their Savior, but now three days later this frightening vision of an empty tomb. Wouldn’t you be afraid?

Fear has been too often my companion this past year. Fear of catching a mysterious virus and what it could possibly do to me, fear that loved ones will be hurt, fear of what the future might hold, fear that life might never get back to “normal,” whatever that might be.

How often I had to remind myself—through prayer— “Be not afraid.” No need to apologize for those fearful emotions. Notice them. Then give them up to God.

Be amazed. The miracle of the Resurrection and the promise that Christ offered with it, that life doesn’t end when it seems to end, is amazing. How to take that in?

My mother died last year, right before the lockdown. Fortunately, we, her four kids, were able to be with her, sitting by her hospital bed. On the last day of her life—none of us knowing that it would be the end—two ministers from her church came, read from the Bible and prayed and we sang with her, that song about eagles’ wings. Then she quietly said, “I’m going to be in the Lord’s house soon.” Words I never would have expected to hear.

No matter where you are, in church, by a hospital bed, at an empty tomb outside of Jerusalem, it is startling. As the Bible says, the women at the tomb were amazed. Can we be any less? Sing your hallelujahs. Be amazed.

Hear your name being called. In John’s account of the Resurrection, Mary Magdalen stands outside the tomb weeping. She has experienced a double loss. Not only Christ’s death but now this empty tomb, the linens all rolled up. Where is He?

Then when Jesus actually appears, at first, she doesn’t recognize Him. It is only when He says her name—Mary—that she knows Him. “Rabbouni,” she exclaims. “Teacher.” She knew Him when He revealed how He knew her.

God knows all of us better than we know ourselves. How on earth could Mary not recognize Jesus at all? Had He been changed beyond all recognition? No, it was Mary who needed to experience what had truly happened. She still needed to be transformed. 

God is calling all of our names, not just at Easter but at all times. Every morning I sit on the sofa in silence, knowing God’s call is there. It is for me to be willing to listen, to be transformed. Day after day after day.

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