Every Easter we open our celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord with the same proclamation. I boldly say, “He is risen!” to which the congregation enthusiastically responds, “He is risen indeed! Alleluia!” We do this three times. It reminds us of the three days Jesus lay in the tomb, dead, with seemingly no hope of God’s salvation for a world that was, and is, in bondage to sin and death. Yet on that day, the first day of the week, the first day of a new dawn, a new era, a new way of life in this world, Jesus was not in the tomb but had risen. He was the firstborn of the new creation God has in store for all those who are joined to Christ’s death and resurrection in the waters of baptism and live by faith in the same.
He is risen INDEED. That one word proclaims our hope that this Coronavirus does not have the last word in our lives of social distancing, sheltering in place, and quarantine. Indeed, whenever death confronts us in life in all its various forms we place our hope and trust in the God who promises new life by the raising of Jesus on Easter day. Indeed, we shall not lose hope when the market is grim and our wallets are slim, but trust in the God we pray to “give us this day our daily bread” in all that we truly need for life. Indeed, we will not lose faith in God because God has time and time again shown to be faithful toward creation and humanity.
We are living in a time pretty much only Jean Schroeder has lived through before when the Spanish flu pandemic hit our country and most heavily in the Philadelphia area because people ignored the warnings to avoid being in large crowds and many participated in a parade that resulted in overwhelming deaths. As we prepare for the celebration of Easter and the hope of new life it offers let us also be diligent in our life together. Stay safe. Stay at home. Wash your hands. Contact me if you need pastoral care or guidance. My cell phone is 856-419-7852. I know we are living in fearful times but we have not been given a spirit of fear, but God’s Holy Spirit of life and courage and hope and love. Let us live in that spirit, the spirit of our risen Christ during these days. Let us proclaim at Easter and every day our rallying cry, “He is risen. He is risen INDEED! Alleluia!” Amen