The Weight of Hope

Easter Sunday should be a guarantee that the preacher is going to preach – the crucified one is the risen one. It’s obvious. But just because something is obvious doesn’t mean we stop proclaiming it.

I heard someone quip one time, “We must continue to preach the obvious or else it will not be obvious any longer.” So why do we continue to preach the resurrection of the crucified man from the dead? Because it’s the crux of our faith, it should, therefore, be the most obvious thing about Christianity.

Mary Magdalene and others have come to the garden tomb for a visit to the place where the one they had one hope in now lay. And instead of mourning, they are greeted by an angel and an earthquake. The angel says what angels say often in the gospels, “do not be afraid” (vs. 5).

They don’t need to be afraid because it’s morning and joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). Joy especially came this morning because the crucified one is now the risen one. With this proclamation – the trajectory of the world has changed, hope is alive, death is no longer what it used to be and sin has lost its power.

Upon hearing this, the women are invited to “see” (vs. 6), and then, “go and tell” (vs. 7). News this good can’t be kept to one person, it must spread. The good news comes to us on the way somewhere else.

The women had come to mourn and grieve. The angel and Jesus, instructed them to now, “not be afraid and go tell others that He is risen.”

Their mindset = do not be afraid. Their mission  = tell others he is risen.

The past 13 months has, for many, been a mindset of “being afraid” and a mission of “just getting back to normal”. And while this year has been especially bad, there is always something to be afraid of if our focus is on that thing we are afraid of – if COVID disappears there will always be something. Normal? Normal is a moving target, ebbing and flowing like the tide.

What causes fear to dissipate? He is risen. What is a mission that will remain the norm until he returns? Tell the world, he is risen.

The one who lived, suffered, died, and was buried has now risen. He is alive. The crucified one is the risen one. Hope is certain because he lives, not because things are normal or COVID disappears. For over 2000 years our story has always been the same – He is risen. The years vary, some good, some bad – regardless – he is risen. 

This must be the most obvious thing about us – we relentlessly go and tell, with no fear, that the crucified one is the Risen one, therefore hope is alive.

Hope is a dangerous thing. Some are hoping for the vaccine. Some are hoping for normalcy. Those are moving targets with no guarantee. What is a guarantee, what can take the weight of hope is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, who has triumphed over the grave, opened paradise and given us a living hope that can withstand anything a year may bring and is fully capable of casting out fear.

Happy Easter, dear saints, the crucified one is the risen one, place your hope in him, be not afraid as you go and tell the world what is obviously, the greatest news the world will ever hear.

Luke is Pastor of Discipleship to the community of saints, in Christ, at Nashville UMC.

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