The sad, grieving women came to Jesus’ tomb to finish the traditional treatment of the dead which they’d had to abandon on the late Friday afternoon. Jesus’ lifeless body had hastily been laid down in the tomb as time had been running out. For the women it supposed to be the beginning of their mourning leading eventually to closure. Instead there was more salt rubbed into their wounds as they found that the tomb had been opened and Jesus’ body gone. When it rains it pours.
Sometimes life seems to be a string of unfortunate events, happenings and incidents. There are people among us that have been struggling in one way or another for most of their lives. Sometimes the feeling of total helplessness and hopelessness can be overpowering when all efforts seem to be in vain. And sometimes bad luck seems to strike every now and again. We are not unique in such experiences; we share them with people across the world since time immemorial – although it’s hardly any consolation.
Those fears, anxieties and pains were met by the message of Easter. The Apostles and early followers of Christ heralded a new hope reaching beyond the grave, making sense of current hardships. Unsurprisingly the first to accept that message and to embrace it were those with little or no influence in the society. The powerful and the affluent ignored, mocked or persecuted that new faith as they relied on their power and their influence. Yet for those who believed, the Risen Lord gave strength and power much greater than that provided by wealth and position.
Christianity with its message of life beyond the grave and unpopular moral code seems to be in retreat in our country for various reasons; certainly one of them being a string of scandals and cover-ups. Relative wealth and everyday comforts provide a feeling of safety unknown to many of our forefathers. It’s also quite fashionable in the mainstream culture to mock religion, Christianity in particular. But in many other places faith in the Risen Christ is still a driving force for the better, something that empowers peaceful protest against injustice.
We believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins, but more importantly that he defeated death and is alive. We believe that even in the darkest hour of our lives the light of the Risen Lord shines brightly and gets us through it. We believe that even when we lose one battle after another, with Jesus we are already victors in the war against evil. With Jesus’ triumph over death we are destined to live forever.