April 16, 2017 Easter Sunday
Easter—What an Event!.
The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to
them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.’
Easter is the singular event in history. Resurrection from the dead. Only God can
accomplish something as extraordinary. The resurrected Christ was experienced by
Mary, the mother of Jesus, the twelve apostles, hundreds as diverse as the two walking
to Emmaus, Paul, and others. Based upon their contact with the resurrected Jesus,
many of those individuals willingly chose to be martyred than to recant their relationship
with Jesus: so was the power of His resurrection to them.
Over thousands of years people have relied upon the first-hand testimony of the people
who encountered the living Christ. Even now people are giving their lives for Jesus in
both our civilized and uncivilized world because of their proclamation of Jesus. Their
faith remains strong even to death. Our conviction is with them as we celebrate the
victory over bodily death. As humans we somehow know there is another spiritual world
out there. As humans we have a sense of a life beyond what we can see. As humans
we have an inkling of a life after death. Because of Jesus we have been taught that all
of this is true: there are many mansions awaiting us, there is meaningful prayerful
communication with the divine, there is life after death, and Jesus is awaiting us.
The cause for celebration is not limited to a later time. The cause for celebration is that
life as we know it at this time, today, is different because of Jesus’ life and resurrection.
We have confirmation of being loved by God. We are a people held close to God. We
are a redeemed people. Every single person who lives, who has lived, and who will live,
has the dignity of being a child of God, called to resurrection upon our death.
Paul uses the term ‘sleeping’ when referring to bodily death. For him, our body sleeps,
while our souls are in the closest of union with God the Father, Jesus the Savior, and
the Holy Spirit. Easter is the time for us to celebrate that almighty God’s bond with us is
brought about through the life, death, and resurrection of the divine Son of God, Jesus
the Christ. Alleluia!
Prayer: Lord, so often your Son has reassured us not to be afraid, but we, like the
women who came to the tomb, are terrified of the unknown, the unusual, the
miraculous, the divine working in your creation. Give us the
grace to understand that your love will comfort us, and with
your love we will grasp that we your children are in your
home, and in the heart of your Son Jesus, and there is no
reason to be terrified. We pray this under the guidance of
your Holy Spirit in the name of your Son, Jesus the Christ.
Rev. Dr. Barry W. Szymanski, J.D
First Congregational Church of Wauwatosa