ELCA Presiding Bishop’s 2015 Easter message
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Gospel of Mark ends abruptly. The women came to the tomb to care for the body of their friend and Lord. They expected death. Seeing the stone rolled away, they entered the tomb; they entered into death. They didn’t find Jesus. Instead, they saw a young man, who told them not to be amazed, that Jesus had risen. This same stranger told them to tell the disciples and then head to Galilee. Is it any wonder that terror and amazement seized them?
We are on the other side of the first Easter. We have grown used to the story of the resurrection. The good news brings hope and comfort. It brings freedom and joy. But I don’t think it causes terror and amazement. Maybe we are missing something. The Greek word for amazement, “ekstasis”, means “change of place.” And that is what has happened to us and all of creation because of the resurrection. Before Easter, we stood in a place of sin and death. After Easter, we stand in a place of forgiveness and life. Everything has changed. We are not the same. The world is not the same. The deadly, but familiar, way of the world can no longer be counted on. This new reality of forgiveness, life and salvation is and should be unsettling. Terror and amazement indeed!
The world is turned upside down. It might look the same, but we are standing in a different place. Christ is risen. We are risen. Alleluia!
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America