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From The Pews | Resurrection’s Hope Amid a World of Death

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Eastertide is my favorite season of the church year.

I think it’s because the invitation during this season is to let the miraculous, transformative nature of the Risen Christ wash over you like the tide rolling in on the beach.

Even amid this joy and light, we are still in this world and living in this world. We still hear terrible news of bombings on Easter morning, a shooting in synagogues and a shooting on college campuses.

How do we reconcile the hope of the resurrection with the reminder of death that surrounds us? As a member of the clergy, this is one of the most difficult aspects of leading and guiding God’s people.

How do I explain to the people of God that God is still speaking and God is still moving even when it doesn’t seem like that is true?

How do I answer questions about why death comes to such good people and why others who continue to abuse and hurt seem to not only live, but also prosper?

How do I encourage and invite people to keep hoping even when it seems like hoping isn’t changing the world around us?

As much as I wanted to have all the answers in seminary, and even as I was searching for my first call, I realized that being invited into the wrestling and questioning of these realities is perhaps the most holy work I can be asked to do.

As we gather to worship or around the table to study God’s word, I realize the true miracle is being invited to look and search for evidence of the Divine working and moving in this world.

The women who went to the tomb to find Jesus on that early Easter morning didn’t actually find what they were looking for. Instead, they found an empty tomb – evidence that death had been overcome.

Even as they looked into the empty tomb, I wonder if they could comprehend what they were seeing. Could they even hope that death had been overcome, that suffering was not the end of the story but rather just the beginning?

This is the wonder of Eastertide. We see evidence that death can be overcome by people offering their lives to save others. We see evidence that suffering is not the end of the story as stories of hope rise up from the ashes.

As we bask in this season of Eastertide, may we not forget that the resurrection invites us not only to new life, but to stare into death and hope for resurrection.

Merianna Harrelson

Merianna Harrelson is pastor of Garden of Grace United Church of Christ in Columbia, South Carolina, editor-in-chief of Harrelson Press Publishing, and an EthicsDaily.com / Baptist Center for Ethics board member.