This week we celebrated Easter in Palestine. I was thinking about the empty tomb and what it means for our lives today. The story of the resurrection is one of those stories that never gets old. It is always fresh. It is always filled with exciting realities and new horizons.
Think about the women who came to the tomb that Sunday morning. They came with sorrow and pain. They wondered, "who will remove the stone?"
Think of Peter, who ran to the tomb with emotions of guilt and shame. He so desperately wanted a second chance. If only the story would unfold again so that he acts differently.
Think of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. They had feelings of disappointment and dispair. "We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel."
Sorrow. Pain. Guilt. Shame. Disappointment. Dispair. These are not uncommon emotions - on individual and social level. These emotions may take hold of us and define our reality! These are the emotions of death. Just look at Judas the Iscariot.
These emotions are not strange to many of us here in Palestine/Israel, and Christians are not immune to the challenges of the conflict.
But these are the emotions of Friday! Sunday is here. This is the good news of the resurrection. It brings hope. Real hope. This is so radically different than "wishful" or "positive thinking". It is hope that does not depend rest on a political solution or peace negotiations. The resurrection of Christ begins a new era. It must define our reality. Death does not have the final word. Christ is Risen!
One more thing.
One of the realities we bring to the tomb is the reality of the enmity with God and man. But the resurrection brings peace as, again, we are born into a new reality. This Easter I attended the Palestinian Evangelical Churches' celebration of the resurrection in the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. It was a beautiful day and the service was powerful. One of the special things about this particular anual service is the presence of Messianic believers celebrating with Palestinians. It is a visible sign and a reminder of the power of the empty tomb. We died with Christ as two; we rose as one, united in him. May this unity be actualized in our churches and ministries, just like it was in this service.
Easter service at the garden tomb.
Praise and Worship.
Palestinian and Messianic Pastors breaking bread together.