by Nancy Von Schimmelmann, Mission Advocate
From that moment in Gethsemane—for three agonizing, eternal days, through the morning of Easter—they waited, holed up in a room, not knowing what would happen next. It had come upon them unexpectedly (although they had been warned). They feared; they grieved.
Only a handful of women ventured out, fueled by love to enter a tomb where they would honor Jesus’ decomposing body with the spices they bore, becoming “unclean” in the process. But it was they who became the first human evangels to the resurrection.
For many, this Easter will have a similar, uncomfortable quiet. Most of our churches lay dark, and with good reason. Many of South Korea’s novel coronavirus cases trace back to one church member, spread to others during gatherings for worship and prayer.
But that small, self-isolated band of disciples in the upper room that Sunday long ago went from fearful and self-loathing to perplexed, dumbfounded, surprised and, finally, elated.
First came the unlikely witness of the women, then the appearance of Jesus Himself! They had no orchestra, no special music or flowers or Easter dinner or festive clothes. Nonetheless, I believe there was never a greater celebration than in that room, that Easter.
Because Jesus was there.
We celebrate God with us this Easter. We pray that you will be able to share it with someone you love, even if you must connect with them online.
We pray that you will pray for our brothers, sisters and partners who have to celebrate in small numbers every year, either because they live in unreached areas of the world or because they live in areas hostile to believers. Pray that they will experience the joy of Christ’s presence and the encouragement and power of His Spirit.
Pray especially for those believers, like the purported millions of new believers in Iran, who must endure hostility, isolation from other believers, as well as the pandemic ravaging their country.
And pray for believers, like ourselves, who have become accustomed to so many Easter trappings and social gatherings and now seek to find our joy in a simpler fashion. Grace, peace and joy to you in the Risen Christ this isolated Easter!
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” —2 Thessalonians 3:16
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” —Romans 15:13
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” —1 Peter 1:3