ELCA NEWS SERVICE
March 22, 2007
ELCA Presiding Bishop's 2007 Easter Message
"They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. … Then they remembered his words." (NRSV Luke 24:2,8)
On the first Easter morning, the women entered an empty tomb expecting to find Jesus. They were looking for the body of Jesus, but were disappointed and perplexed.
Today, when we look for peace and there is no peace, we, too, may wonder where Jesus is. When violence and wars escalate, we may wonder where Jesus is. When hunger and poverty continue to have a stronghold in neighborhoods here and around the world, we may wonder where Jesus is. When we experience the emptiness of the divisions among races, religions, and classes, our fear and confusion can cause us to wonder where Jesus is. When we struggle with guilt or shame, we may wonder where Jesus is. Like the disciples of old, we miss the signs of God's presence in our world.
In the dark days of perplexity and despair for the troubles of this world, let us remember the hope of Easter morning. In the dawn of Christ's resurrection, we rejoice that death and evil did not have the last word: the tomb is empty! Christ is with us, living among us and through us, announcing "good news to the poor … release to the captives … recovery of sight to the blind," freedom to the oppressed, and "the year of the Lord's favor." (NRSV, Luke 4:18-19) Christ is with us as the word of forgiveness is declared and the sacraments are received. Christ is with us as we look for signs of Jesus in our churches and communities and remember his words: "And, remember I am with you always, to the end of the age." (NRSV, Matthew 28:20b)
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
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