While we've spent most of our time this year listening to the story of Jesus as Luke's Gospel tells it, I could not pass up important details from the Gospel of Matthew. It is the message the angels, sent from heaven as messengers from God, deliver that has life-altering effects. Two parts strike me:
"Do not be afraid"
Some of us will remember that this is standard operating procedure for all angel appearances. Throughout the Scriptures when angels appear, they offer this word. Do not be afraid. Why, you ask? Because we are human. We fear change. We fear what is new. We fear what we do not understand; all of this is precisely what the truth of Easter brings. The world works differently now. Death has no hold for those who believe. God is bringing about change in ways you could not imagine before.
"He is Not Here"
The angels go on to point out that Jesus' body is no longer in the tomb. Jesus was not where they were looking, not among the dead. He could not be found in the cemetery. Instead, he is among the living. He is not dead, but instead busy with the stuff of life - redemption, affirmation, and fulfillment.
Easter calls us to something new; to life without fear and to live differently. We are called to look for God's work - as Jesus made God present in a new way here on Earth - in places we never thought to look before. This is the power of the Resurrection. This is Easter.