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He is Risen

Submitted by umccopenhagen on Tue, 04/14/2020 - 15:04
paaskedag

Only a few months ago, most of us could not imagine what we are undergoing right now.

Now we know, that in spite of our advanced science and technology our lives and our societies are without exception fragile. We need more than protection, we need hope. 

Hope springs from Easter morning. Hope springs from an empty tomb, He was not there. Darkness, evil and death was conquered – Jesus was risen from the dead.  

Watch the video here or read the full text below: 

Christ is risen – Indeed, Christ is risen!

These are the words of an old proclamation, as old as the Christian church…..

This is the strangest Easter most of us have experienced in our lifetime. 

Ever since I became a Christian, worshipping at Easter has been very important to me. The joy and celebration on Palm Sunday, the solemn and deep sense of Christ at the center of our fellowship around the communion table in the evening on Maundy Thursday. The pain and the darkness as Jesus sacrifices his life and dies on the cross on Good Friday.

And then today, on Easter morning we hear the good news from the women: Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen – and we sing and we celebrate that Jesus is alive.  

I miss going to church this Easter – as I am sure many of you do. I will worship online and through television, but that is not the same. 

Listen to Matthews account of what took place on Easter morning

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he[a] lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you

I miss the women entering a dark church with candles making this outrageous claim: Christ is Risen! – And I miss responding with the entire congregation: Indeed, Christ is risen! 

Paul gives his account of the resurrection to the church in Corint (1. Cor 15) and then he makes the case for the significance of the resurrection.  Our entire message depends on the reality and truth of the resurrection. If Christ is not risen from the dead, there was no point in his death, and there is no redemption, we have all been fooled, and our message is hollow and without any power. 

BUT NOW: BUT NOW Christ is risen. He lives! And this changes everything, He has conquered death and evil. A new future has been made possible – there is hope!

And we need hope. We need it badly.

The Corona virus is a powerful reminder of our shared  humanity, it infects the rich and the poor, it doesn’t discriminate by race or religion. We are all vulnerable, and we can all die from it. 

Warren Goldstein chiefrabbi in South Africa says in an article: 
”Our response to the current pandemic reflects this paradox of the human condition. On the one hand, we are deploying our remarkable medical, scientific and operational resources to stave off disaster. On the other hand, the coronavirus is a poignant reminder of our collective fragility. Despite our grand 21st-century advancements in medicine and technology, a stealthy and invisible virus has demonstrated our weakness. We recognize and express in prayers our fundamental vulnerability, and acknowledge that we are, after all, in God’s hands.”

This is indeed our experience. Only a few months ago, most of us were unable to imagine what we are undergoing right now – this belongs in a Science Fiction dystopia. But now we know, that in spite of our advanced science and technology our lives and our societies are without exception fragile – we are all in God’s hands.

Every day in the news, we get the most recent numbers of infected, hospitalized and deaths. This is serious, and we must maintain social distancing, wash our hands, and cough and sneeze into our elbow. I have the deepest admiration for governments leading through this, and for the doctors and nurses and health personnel working in the frontline. They need our support and our prayers. We must care for and protect each other and follow the directions of the authorities. 

I want to say to you this morning . We need more than protection, we need hope. 

Hope springs from Easter morning. Hope springs from an empty tomb, He was not there. Darkness, evil and death was conquered – Jesus was risen from the dead.  

In his Second letter to the church in Corint (chapter 5) Paul explains the implications of the Easter message:

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

I call on you, who are believers to remind you of our task. We are a resource to our societies, we are ambassadors for Jesus Christ, to bring reconciliation and hope into this situation. We are messengers of hope. Our faith teaches us to handle anxiety and fear, we know how to deal with despair and hopelessness. We know how to pray, we know the peace beyond comprehension, the peace that only Jesus can give. 

Therefore I encourage you…..

Speak boldly about trust and faith in Jesus Christ as the antidote to anxiety and fear.
Speak boldly about hope.  God will never leave nor forsake you no matter what you will face be it serious illness or even death. God is faithful, you will always be included in his love and grace. 

Speak boldly about the good news of Easter, that Christ has died for our sins, and that He rose on the third day. And He says about himself: I am the resurrection and the life.[f] Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.  

Will you pray with me….

When everything was dark
and it seemed that the sun would never shine again,
your love broke through.
Your love was too strong,
too wide,
too deep
for death to hold.
The sparks cast by your love
dance and spread
and burst forth
with resurrection light.
Gracious God,
We praise you for the light of new life
made possible through Jesus.
We praise you for the light of new life
that shone on the first witnesses of resurrection.
We praise you for the light of new life
that continues to shine in our hearts today.
We pray that the Easter light of life, hope and joy,
will live in us each day;
and that we will be bearers of that light
into the lives of others.
Amen.
 

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mapThe Nordic and Baltic episcopal area covers 7 countries Denmark,Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. We speak 9 official languages and use English as a common language.

Bishop Christian Alsted gives oversight to pastors, deacons, local churches, schools, hospitals, seminaries and diaconal institutions in the area.

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