Message from Bishop Wallace-Padgett: Easter Joy


From Disbelief to Joy
Luke 24:36b-48

The disciples can hardly believe it. Two days earlier all of their hopes and dreams of life in Jesus were buried with him in the tomb. Yet, can it be? Can this man standing before them be the Resurrected Jesus? Is it really him? As the reality of his resurrection sets in, their disbelief slowly dissipates and is replaced with joy. The resurrection miracle has happened. Jesus Christ their Lord is alive!

That, my friends, is Easter joy at its best. It is disbelief turned to joy, the shadow of death overcome by resurrection power, the crucified Jesus — alive and living in our midst.

The Good News of Easter is too wonderful to be limited to a one Sunday celebration, too. There are seven weeks in the Easter season. Christians celebrate every Sunday as a Resurrection Day!

Easter joy is an experience that fills our beings now and forevermore. As the song goes, “Ev’ry morning is Easter morning from now on! Ev’ry morning’s Resurrection Day, the past is over and done!”

Our Savior’s resurrection has dramatically changed us into Easter people. Our initial disbelief is turned into Easter joy which permeates every aspect of our lives. It is beautiful, wonderful and tremendous news that affects all that we say, do and think.

It is why we sing the Easter hymns with gusto . . . share our faith with others at work, school and play . . . participate in holy habits regularly . . . and have the resilience to keep on going in the darkest seasons of life. It is a source of strength to us when the road gets tough . . . disappointments abound . . . health fails . . . and our dreams are crushed.

Others sense the joy in us, too. Because after we encounter the Risen Jesus, there is a quality to our lives that is different.

Contentment accompanies life in Christ. Vibrancy and new life come from walking in relationship with Jesus. Easter joy deepens as our relationship with Jesus grows.

Though we face the same problems, death and heartaches as previously, our relationship with Jesus helps us to view them with a changed perspective. Easter joy is so much deeper and stronger than the warm fuzzies that we feel when on a spiritual high. It carries us through the mountains and the valleys, the happiness and the sorrows, the thrills and the regrets of life. We are an Easter people serving a Resurrected Savior. Easter joy ultimately trumps everything else that life brings.

After his Resurrection, Jesus remains with the disciples for a while. Then he leaves them again, ascending to heaven to live with God. When he was taken from them at the cross it was a period of deepest gloom. This time, though, the disciples view life through eyes tinted with Easter joy. Though they grieve Jesus’ physical absence from their midst, they are not devastated in the way that they were when he died on the cross. Their Easter joy remains with them even through the trials that follow.

Disbelief turned to joy comes from a dawning of Christ’s resurrection power in our lives. Thank God for Easter joy. It makes all the difference!

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