“Christ the Lord Is Risen Today – Alleluia!” These powerful words are the opening line of a well-known Easter hymn written by Charles Wesley. But that earth-shaking event – the resurrection – isn’t just ancient history. Today, the power of God’s love and life, which rolled the stone away two-thousand years ago, can shine forth. Yes, today, the stones in our lives – sin, bitterness, fear, cruelty, shame, nightmares of violence and torture – can all be rolled away and redeemed by God.
It may seem impossible: How can these stones be rolled away? The three women who went to Jesus’ tomb early on that first Easter morning asked the same question. “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” (Mark 16:3). They hurried to look in faith and in hope, but also in sorrow and despair. Yet when they arrived at the place where Jesus had been buried, they discovered that the stone, a very large one, had been rolled away. The tomb was empty. Jesus had risen!
Eugène Burnand,The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection
Despite their fear and astonishment, the women immediately sought their Lord. Where had he been taken? And then Jesus came. He appeared to them, and the stone of sorrow and despair was lifted from their hearts.
Jesus renewed their hope and sent them to tell the other disciples. In the days that followed, he appeared many times to the frightened and heavy-laden and lifted the stones that barred hope from bursting forth. When two of his disciples were on their way to Emmaus, also bewildered and confused about what had just happened, Jesus walked beside them. Later they asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32).
However large the stones that block belief and faith in our lives, Jesus wants to come and free us, today! Jesus lives; as a pastor, I see this daily in many hearts that are coming back to faith in God and Christ. We can each encounter Jesus in our daily lives – in family, friends, and maybe in refugees or strangers – and our hearts can burn within us, bright with new hope, as he walks beside us.
As the waves of hatred, war, and cruelty mount in our world – most recently in Brussels – all of us who call on the name of God and Jesus must unite to proclaim the good news: Christ is risen! The tomb is still empty. No stone is too big to be rolled away. There is a new earth and a new heaven on the way, where there will be no more tears or weeping and the former things will pass away. Our God is a God of life! Alleluia!Comments
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