An Easter message
Those most crushed by Jesus’ death at first found his reappearance too good to be true. Yet in his resurrection, God proclaims that no bloodied, tortured killing or violence will ever have the last word.
Not unlike those who wrapped Jesus’ abused and broken body and laid it in a tomb, we find our hopes crushed almost daily by news of violence. In the past two weeks alone, our communities have been rocked as terrorist bombs killed Coptic Christians who were celebrating Palm Sunday; Syrians were gassed by their government and then bombed by U.S. missiles; and an Elkhart neighbor killed his partner before killing himself, leaving their five children orphaned. Yesterday, a memorial was held for United Nations worker Michael Sharp (son of AMBS graduate John Sharp), who was abducted and killed with his colleagues as they worked for reconciliation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Safwat Marzouk, associate professor of Old Testament who is currently on sabbatical in Egypt, reminds us in response to the tragic events there: “For Christians, Jesus is the ultimate model of an innocent human being who has suffered an unjust death. … It is crucial to say, though, that suffering and death are not the last word. The justification of the innocent Jesus through the resurrection gives humans hope in the face of terrorism, fear and death.” (Safwat’s piece appears in The Huffington Post.)
When Jesus himself stood among his disciples after his resurrection, he said, “Peace be with you.” When he saw their fear, he asked, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. … Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” When crushed in spirit, may we bring this assurance to mind, and weep for joy. The Lord is risen! Every risk we take on behalf of God’s reconciling mission in the world, we take in the power and joy of Jesus’ resurrection.
Photo: Flowers are blooming across the AMBS campus! Above, purple petals emerge from the soil in the flower bed located in the center of the courtyard. (Credit: Nekeisha Alayna Alexis)