THERE IS HOPE!
We certainly wish that we were celebrating Christ's resurrection together with our egg hunt, our breakfast, and our festive service. I'm so thankful that you have given me the opportunity to preach for you since September, and obviously, Easter is the greatest time to preach. I was so looking forward to having the opportunity to share the GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF JESUS and yelling out, HE IS RISEN and you responding HE IS RISEN, INDEED! ALLELUIA!
With our unprecedented situation, we need more than ever to feel the HOPE of the RESURRECTION. April 12 is EASTER SUNDAY, a celebration unique among Christians around the world because of the triumphant resurrection of JESUS from the grave. But EASTER is something more than just an historical festival that the world pauses to observe each year. It's also a celebration of the HOPE that lives in the here and now for all of us in this pandemic.
With JESUS' resurrection, a new power has come into the world. A new power of HOPE is let loose upon all of us as members and friends of REDEEMER EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH. It is the miraculous power of God who raised JESUS from the dead.
During these crazy times, JESUS' resurrection is the last and best HOPE we all have. Jesus is not a dream, a vision, or a mythical character. Jesus is a real man altogether human. In His humanity, Jesus knows COVID-19, and God has wrapped the person of His only and unique Son to us, reconciling all of us to Himself. In JESUS there is HOPE: HOPE of healing, HOPE that this too shall pass, HOPE of a normal life again, and most of all HOPE for us all when our time comes for Jesus to reach down to take us home in the HOPE OF THE RESURRECTION to eternal life.
The GOOD NEWS of EASTER is that there is HOPE when all seems hopeless. HOPE in Jesus is much more than wishing. Hope in Jesus is FAITH in the power and PEACE of the resurrection. Paul writes "If for this life only we have hoped in CHRIST, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact, CHRIST has been raised from the dead," I Cor 15:19-20.
Do you feel that all of this social isolation is like we are stuck in the mud? An old story from Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, 33-year voice of THE LUTHERAN HOUR, an LCMS radio show still on the air after 90 years (Google search) goes like this: "An old hulk of a ship was stuck in the mud of a river. All efforts to raise it had failed. Someone noticed that the river was affected by the tide. At low tide, he harnessed an empty barge to the old hulk with strong chains and cables. Slowly and surely the waters came flooding in and the great lifting power of the ocean surged under that barge, and broke it loose from the mud." (Lutheran Vistas)
Something like this through the "lifting power" of FAITH linked to the power of the resurrection gives us the reality in HOPE that the mud of this situation will never hold us down for long. With FAITH and LOVE toward JESUS CHRIST, the LORD OF LIFE, we can feel the surge of GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT lifting us from the mud of this virus, and also our own personal muddy choices follies, or defeats giving us HOPE IN CHRIST, AND IN THE POWER OF GOD that raised JESUS FROM THE DEAD.
JESUS LIVES! There is HOPE--HOPE of a better, normal life that can be called eternal!.
HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN, INDEED! ALLELUIA!. AMEN!.................