Wrapped in Resurrection

What are we to say about these things?
 If God is for us, who is against us?

How are you? In this season of our life together as a congregation, we wait, watch, and wonder together about what God is up to among us. We may feel a little overwhelmed – so much in the air, all sorts of details and questions before us, a mix of sadness and excitement churns within us.

As the ground beneath us begins to shift slightly, we look for steady space on which to breathe,pray, and stand under the gracious care of God. Even when what comes is good news – I would invite you to see this is good news – our balance can feel a little off because there is so much yet unknown. In this way, we may find some resonance between us and those who first came to the tomb and found it empty. Notice the initial emotion of those who stand outside the tomb. Some are shaken, others are saddened. Some are stunned, others weep. While the words Jesus spoke throughout his ministry surrounded them, no one really knew what it meant that the tomb was empty for their life and life together – in the present or future. Oh, they would come to know soon enough that this was not only good news but the very best news. Jesus was raised from the dead for them and for us. His resurrected body, full of wounds and scars, announced something new was afoot. The words from his mouth announced that everything that prevents us from living fully in the hope of new life had passed away. Everything is now new. When he called our names from outside the empty tomb, our eyes were opened, and we came to know how we, too, are wrapped in resurrection.

Still, the response of the first disciples to this news, even when they saw and heard the resurrected Jesus, was to hide and walk away. It makes sense, really. Grief causes us to say and do strange things. Locked doors, fishing trips, and a hike away from the scene of Jesus’s death and resurrection are ways those disciples made space to come to grips with all that had been lost, even in the face of the good news of Jesus’s resurrection. Notice that when Jesus comes face to face with his beloved disciples – this includes us – he speaks a word of blessing, listens, and makes promise upon promise upon promise: though the future may seem uncertain, you who are wrapped in resurrection are also wrapped in a hope that is strong and tenacious, sturdy, and unwavering. You and I may not know how the future will look. To be honest, none of us knows how the future will look, whatever we face. Yet, the promise in all this uncertainty is Jesus’s presence and love around us and with us and for us and at work through us. For, Jesus is no longer confined in a cave. Jesus is raised from death for us. While we wonder and worry, Jesus brings us peace and pours hope into our hearts.

(Rom. 5:5)

After worship on May 7, 2023, you are invited to join us in our sanctuary for conversation with Pastor Joel Wight Hoogheem, the Senior Pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church. The purpose of the conversation is to get to know one another, for us to share our concerns and hopes for what God may be up to among us, and to listen deeply to one another and to the God who raised Jesus from the dead for us. Notice I invite you to listen and not only hear. As we listen, I pray for the stirring of our hearts and minds and imaginations. How may God be working new life among us? God never tires of making all things new, especially for those who are weary. Do you notice how often, in the stories about Jesus after the resurrection, his words include: “Peace be with you.” And these: “Do not be afraid.” And these: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of us. Amen.

In Christ’s Service,

Pastor Paul Lutter, Interim Pastor