Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia! Easter was wonderful this year: the smell of fresh flowers in the air; the little girls and boys dressed up in their best; and songs of rejoicing! People were happy and smiling and just feeling good to be together at church. The sermon was joy-filled and uplifting. What an amazing day to remember that our God, Jesus Christ, conquered death and calls us by name.
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia! Then on the way home, I turned on the radio, and the reality of life hit me. There was news of bombings in Sri Lanka. Christians there were coming together to worship on Easter just like us, yet their morning ended in death. They came to church to sing songs of praise, and their lives ended. The death toll is over 300. Hundreds more are injured. When we see violence in the world, it’s hard to hear that death is swallowed up in victory. We see the pain; we don’t see the resurrection. We see the death; we don’t see that victory. Where is God in our suffering? Where is Jesus when death surrounds us in what is supposed to be a holy place, on a holy day?
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia! The reality is that we have a God that knows our suffering. Jesus experienced the pain that we face. Jesus went through the pain of abandonment, betrayal, denial, beatings, mockery and finally death on a cross. He took all of this on for the love of us. We have a God who hears our cries for mercy. Yet, we are unable to see death swallowed or resurrection of the body.
Suffer to redeem our loss, Alleluia! After the resurrection, Jesus did finally ascend to the Father. But he left us with the greatest gift. Through this gift we are able to see resurrection out of ashes. Through this gift we are able to see grace in the midst of pain. Through this gift we are able to see mercy through the suffering. Jesus left us with each other, the church. May we be the resurrection this Easter season and beyond.
“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
― Teresa of Avila