Happy Eastertide! While many of us tend to think of Easter as the one glorious Sunday we celebrate the Day of Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in fact that festival day is the beginning of a liturgical season known as Eastertide. This season in which we focus on Scripture readings centered around the appearances of the Risen Christ lasts fifty days, from Easter Sunday until the Day of Pentecost. I have always loved that this season coincides each year with the season of spring occurring in the Northern Hemisphere of God’s beautiful creation. There is something fitting about celebrating the Resurrection when nature springs to life all around us after a winter’s dormancy. Flowers and flowering shrubs bloom, trees that lost their foliage in the winter sprout green leaves, the grass begins to turn a more vibrant green, bees are buzzing to help pollinate the flowers and birds are building nests, laying eggs and feeding raucous babies all around us. The cycle of life in all its springtime vibrancy after the dormancy and death of winter months remind us in a symbolic way of a deep truth about our God in Jesus Christ: that God’s last word is always resurrection and new life.
Today, our youth will share the joy of this season with us by leading us in worship, focused on one of the Resurrection appearances of Jesus in John’s Gospel—one in which the disciples were locked in a closed room in fear of the chaos in the world outside on the evening of Easter day, still unable to believe the great good news of the Resurrection. Jesus entered their fear, grief and anxiety and breathed the Holy Spirit on them, calling them to have faith, leave their fear behind and follow him in the work of transforming the world. We know something about being closed in locked homes in fear of the chaos outside our doors. Now, as then, Jesus calls us to faith in him. Now, as then, Jesus gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit and calls us to follow him into the work of the ongoing transformation of a broken and fearful world. Now, as then, the season of Eastertide reminds us of the central truth of our faith: that in Jesus Christ, God’s last word in our lives and in the world is never grief, fear, isolation and death. In Jesus Christ, God’s last word in our lives and in the world is always joy, courage, community, redemption and resurrection to new life. That is good news we all need to hear in these difficult days. Please join our youth as they share their faith, their hope, their joy and their celebration of the truth of the Resurrection with us today. May we all know the joy of Eastertide in even deeper ways this year.
Grace and peace to you,