The Resurrection of Our Lord | March 2016
After the long darkness of Lent, the brief exaltation of Palm Sunday, and the sorrow of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, Easter morning dawns. Lilies, trumpets, spring clothes, white and gold clergy vestments, ancient cantatas, the "Hallelujah Chorus," the first light, fire, water, oil, bread, wine and... an empty tomb and Jesus is alive today! The Christian community gathers around a set of symbols that indicate the season has changed, that new life has come: In fact, Christians gather this Easter morning, on a Sunday - not a Saturday, because of the unshakeable conviction of Jesus' early followers that something unprecedented and amazing had occurred very early in the morning on the third day.
The late Michael Ramsey (former Archbishop of Canterbury) once wrote, "The Gospel without the Resurrection is not merely a Gospel without a final chapter, it is not a Gospel at all."
And what a difference the resurrection makes - the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Jerusalem tomb sets Christianity apart from all other religions. Our Savior, the Savior of the gospels is a risen Savior. His tomb is empty and that makes all the difference in the world (and in the heavens)!
On this Resurrection Day, would you pause for a moment and consider a Persian Easter hymn written by Hassan Dehqani-Tafti, a convert from Islam, who then became bishop in Iran. He experienced the assassination of his son and survived a murderous attack on himself and his wife.
Spread the News, look abroad.
He has risen to reign.
Now at last heaven is open to earth once again.
Now that death's power is spent
and is vanquished for aye,
who should fear any storm?
Who now cringe in dismay?
Lift your eyes to the hills.
Greet the bright rising sun.
Now our hearts and our souls are renewed all as one.
See the tomb is found bare with the work of God's hand.
See our Jesus now risen. In this faith may we stand.
Let us pray,
O God, who for our redemption gave your only begotten Son to die upon the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of death and the devil: Grant us the grace to die daily to sin, that we may live with him in the joy of his resurrection, through the same, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit now and forever. Amen
Christ is Risen... He is Risen Indeed!