Easter’s fundamental message

Published 10:30 am Saturday, April 23, 2011

Take a look at headlines from around the world on any given day, and it’s easy to get discouraged about the fate of humanity.

Yet, Easter Sunday continues for Christians to be a perpetual reminder of hope, that no matter how glum the moment may seem, all is never lost.

On Good Friday, Jesus’ followers thought that their world had come crashing down. The charismatic figure they had followed for the past three years and in whom they had put their hopes was dead. Before their very eyes, Jesus had been mocked, tormented and crucified like a common criminal.

Yet, the disciples did not truly grasp what Jesus was about until Easter Sunday, when He rose from the dead. With His resurrection, they came to understand that His kingdom — and theirs — was not of this world but of the next. And they came to see that out of great suffering can emerge immense joy. There could be no Easter Sunday without Good Friday.

It is this juxtaposition of misery and happiness that has braced Christians to endure war, natural disaster and personal tragedy over the last two millennia.

In our own region, we’ve just seen the loss of life, limb and property from violent tornadoes last weekend. Even as our neighbors in Gloucester and in Bertie County, N.C., mourn the deaths of loved ones and as Isle of Wight County residents survey the damaged landscape there, a rebirth is beginning. Volunteers by the hundreds have scrambled to the aid of the victims. Hammers are swinging to rebuild what was lost, and hearts are on the mend.

A regional economy so devastated by job losses in recent years is showing signs of recovery. For the jobless, despair is slowly giving way to hope.

This Easter Sunday, as we flock to churches throughout Western Tidewater, let us remember those who are suffering in our community, in our region and around the world. Let us pray for a change of heart in those who are consumed with death. Let us hope that peace will replace war, that the proverbial swords will be turned into plowshares.

As we learned on the first Easter Sunday, miracles do happen.