Easter in a Good Friday World

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” -Frederick Buechner
 
“Fear not.” -Jesus
 
We’ve all heard the news. We’ve seen the headlines reporting more violence, more bombings, more terrorism. Though it hasn’t happened in our community, we’ve felt surrounded by death and destruction. Some lives are lost. Others are shattered. There are too many pieces to pick up, too much that is broken beyond repair, too much smoke and blood and nails. It’s Good Friday all over again.
 
It seems that every day is Good Friday.
 
How can we not be afraid? How could we possibly abandon our natural inclination to fear, to run, and to hide? “Fear not,” he said. We know deep down that those words are for us and for this time, but how can we possibly follow them?
 
Perhaps the power of those words lies in something other than our ability to follow. The one who has led us through this week leads us still, and even as Good Friday clings to us so closely, he comes to us whispering words of comfort and peace. “Do not be afraid,” he says. “Remember.”
 
Remember the journey. In this week Jesus gathered with his disciples in an upper room, breaking bread with them and speaking words that would come to bind them into community: “This is my body, broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In this week he was betrayed, arrested, and put on trial. “Release Barabbas, the murderer!” the people cried. “Then shall I crucify your king?” the governor asked. “We have no king but Caesar!” they answered.
 
In this week Jesus was sentenced and punished as a criminal. Those who loved him most abandoned him. He carried his own cross up the hill, alone. There he was beaten and crucified, and there he died. “It is finished,” he said. All is done. Life was lost. Others were shattered. The hope of the world lay in pieces amid the smoke, and blood, and nails. Good Friday was upon us. Perhaps it still is.
 
But Good Friday is not the end.
 
In the darkness of the early morning, in the midst of that which is shattered and broken, the stone will be rolled away. In one quiet and mysterious moment, death will lose its grip on the world. A breath will be taken. A light will shine. The dawn will come. He’ll come to us while we still sleep, and as we dream of death, and blood, and broken things, he will wipe the dried tears from our faces and whisper words of peace. “Do not be afraid.”
 
That’s when we’ll wake up. That’s when we’ll know. We will see our risen Lord face-to-face. We will feel the light of the dawn breaking through the night’s darkness. We’ll hear the good news. He is risen! And at long last, we will know…
 
Every morning is Easter morning.
 
Alleluia! Amen!

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