Easter: The Good News of Resurrection

Easter: The Good News of Resurrection

Jeremiah 31:1-6

Resurrection takes place whether we are ready for it or not.

Perhaps this year we feel a special kinship with the whipsaw of emotions that people who walked with Jesus must have felt. From the entry into Jerusalem, challenging the rituals of empire on the colt of a donkey, to the journey from the court of Pilot to the hill of Golgotha, emotions must have been surging in all directions.

This year many of us have been whipsawed by emotions. We’re experiencing confusion, disappointment, grief, as plans are upended and our hoped for celebrations and observances are cancelled, and as we grieve the loss of people close to us and the shocking number of people across the country. Some of us are handling a whole new set of challenges homeschooling children, relying on technology to stay in touch with vulnerable adults, moving meetings and worship services on-line. It has felt as if the month of March was a year long. Maybe this has meant for you, as it has for me, that we are forgetting things that would have been top of mind in less turbulent seasons.

Emotionally Exhausted

Perhaps their own cascade of emotions made the disciples particularly slow to believe the good news of resurrection, and even slower to understand its implications. They were emotionally exhausted. Time had spiraled out of control. Their hoped for future plans were in disarray. Their master was dead and they could not take in one more bit of information, or come to grips with what was happening in their experience.

BUT, resurrection takes place whether we are ready for it or not. One of the readings assigned for Easter is Jeremiah 31:1-6. We know Jeremiah as a prophet of the fall of Judah, and of judgment, but tucked into the book of Jeremiah are a few chapters about hope. Why does this section on hope and the assurance of God’s care for the people appear at Chapter 30 rather than at the end of the book? Perhaps because it is a reminder to the reader that the truth of hope, of a renewed life for Israel and Judah, of the resurrection, is solid and reliable, well before the end of the story.

On that first Easter, the disciples had weeks and months ahead of figuring out what was next, of finding new ways to follow their teacher and seeing God’s work in the world. The truth of the resurrection and the hope it heralds for them, for all of humanity and for a renewed creation, interrupted despair. The promise of God’s faithfulness accompanied the people through the long, hard days to come.

This Easter, as the news swirls around us and our lives are disrupted and even as we lose people close to us, may we remember that resurrection is always an interruption of what seems like the only possible narrative. It is a work of God, not of our own strength. It is this deep truth of redemption that will accompany us as we seek to mend, restore and build a new reality. Our culture, as well as our lives, is in upheaval and we will need to hold fast to resurrection hope if we are to seize the moment and build new systems that are better able to care for the vulnerable than the systems failing around us.

God is at work, even now. We can choose hope, and allow it to interrupt despair even now. The deep truth of the resurrection is bold and clear, even now. Thanks be to God.

Harriett Jane Olson is General Secretary and CEO of United Methodist Women.

Posted or updated: 4/10/2020 12:00:00 AM

Give Thanks. Give Now.

Lent and Easter 2020

February 26: Ash Wednesday
March 1: First Sunday in Lent
March 8: Second Sunday in Lent
March 15: Third Sunday in Lent
March 22: Fourth Sunday in Lent
March 29: Fifth Sunday in Lent
April 5: Palm Sunday
April 9: Maundy Thursday
April 10: Good Friday
April 12: Easter Sunday