For the weeks leading up to Easter, and I read over the scriptures that we would read all through Holy Week, I had one question rattling around in my head: are we brave enough to believe something so wonderful?
As we walk through a Good Friday world, as we are constantly confronted by our own shortcomings and the brokenness of the world around us, dare we be a people of Easter? Dare we speak of Good News?
I spoke to the teenagers this weekend about the Gospel of Mark. One version of the gospel of Mark ends like this:
“But he said to them, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised. He isn’t here. Look, here’s the place where they laid him. Go, tell his disciples, especially Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.” Overcome with terror and dread, they fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”
And that’s it.
No reappearance of Jesus, no reuniting with the disciples. Just the two women, afraid.
And why wouldn’t they be afraid? Think of all they had lost: they had given up everything to follow a teacher who they were devoted to. One of their own had betrayed him and they had watched him be arrested and tortured and executed, powerless to stop it. They have to go one, so they go to the tomb, doing the banal work that goes along with death.
Then all of a sudden they are confronted with this news and they are afraid. Maybe they afraid of the angel, or of a Zombie Jesus. Or Maybe they are afraid of getting their hopes up, afraid of having their hearts broken all over again, afraid of believing something so wonderful.
Are we brave enough to believe something so wonderful?
I talked to the teenagers about how cynicism is easy, not believing is easy, rolling your eyes is easy, but believing, having hope against hope, now that’s brave.
I told them that we stand, on Easter morning, at the empty tomb just the same way, how the same question confronts us that confronted them: are we brave enough to believe something wonderful?
When we are promised life abundant, when we are told we can have a fresh start, when we are called to be free from all that binds us, when we are forgiven and reconciled to God, when we are told that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that we are loved just as we are – are we brave enough to believe something so wonderful?
I had the teenagers think over what they were brave enough to believe and add it to a banner. Look over their answers, and if you want to add your own, I’ll keep the watercolors and markers out in the Justin all this week!
The tomb is empty, Christ is risen, what are you brave enough to believe?
Director of Youth Ministries