Dear Easter People,

I have always admired Mary Magdalene’s decisions on Easter Sunday morning.  A woman of tenacity and strength, she had known suffering in her life.  Yet she also knew the possibility of hope.  On that first Easter morning, she was up before first light.  She travelled to the tomb not in joy, but in sorrow.  She chose not to turn from the pain, but to walk toward it.  She came to do what was needed.  Much of this year has felt like that.  So many have done what is needed in the pain.  Mary found the stone removed and she turned and ran back by the same road she had travelled, to tell the disciples.  Peter and John came to the tomb, but so did she — again.  It would have been easier to do otherwise.  But she was not one to choose easy.  The disciples looked in and left, but Mary stayed.  She stood in her grief.  And in that courageous place she saw 2 angels, a gardener, and her Lord.  Sometimes it is the courage to stand that changes everything.  Then she ran again.  For the fourth time she ran the same steps, her tenacity, her strength carrying her.  And she, before any other voice was willing to speak, shared the good news.

Dear people of Bethlehem, you have run with perseverance the race, in the darkness and in the light, for a year.  You have clung to hope for so long.  You have faced sorrow and not turned away.  You have done what was needed and what was right, in the midst of it all.  As we celebrate, once again Jesus resurrection, perhaps this year we celebrate our own as well.  Things are changing, and like Mary we can see the early light.  Not brilliant sun as yet, but dawn is always the time of greatest promise.  There is hope on the horizon this Easter — tenacious, hard won hope — for us all.  With Mary, may we have the courage to speak of God’s rising, and our own.  May joy find us.  May we dare to run, and dare to claim the risen Christ, even as we stand before an empty tomb.  I give thanks for you and for the hope you have carried this year.  He is Risen!  He is Risen, Indeed!

Blessed Easter to you all,
Pastor Laura