This past Sunday was Easter, as I hope you know! It is a day of joy as we remember the empty tomb and celebrate the resurrection! It was also a difficult day. I woke up to news of bombings killing hundreds of Christians as the gathered to worship in Sri Lanka. That afternoon, news broke that one of my favorite Christian authors and bloggers, Rachel Held Evans had been put into a medically induced coma after suffering constant brain seizures due to complications from medication for the flu and a urinary tract information. She is only 37.
So how do we celebrate in spite of experiencing tragedies on both a global and a personal level? What do we do when Easter feels more like Good Friday? It may feel counter-intuitive, but it is because of tragedies like these we celebrate. Even though the tomb is empty, we still mourn. We mourn the loss of loved ones. We mourn the loss of lives lost senselessly. We mourn lives cut short. BUT because the tomb is empty, we mourn with hope! Those words, “with hope” make all the difference in the world! If it weren’t for the empty tomb, we wouldn’t mourn, we would despair. But the tomb is empty and with it comes the promise that we will share in Christ’s resurrection. With the empty tomb comes the promise of victory over death. With that promise we have hope.
Paul wrote to the church at Corinth that because of the empty tomb, we ask death where it’s victory is. We ask where it’s sting is. We still feel the sting of death. We still feel the loss when someone dies, because we will not see them again. But combined with that sting is hope and the promise of something greater after death. So in spite of personal and global tragedies and even in the face of them, we celebrate that the tomb is empty, that Christ is risen. It doesn’t take away our pain, but it gives us hope and the promise that God’s love is more powerful than death!
1 Corinthians 15:53-55 “For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?””