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In the Beginning

“And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.” - Mark 16:6a

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

It is from this proclamation, this announcement, this shout of joy, where the truth of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ takes flight in ways that would change the face of the world. For many perhaps, it is believed that telling the story of Christ begins with a soft and sweet message that arises from the manger upon Jesus’ birth. However, the shout that Jesus has overcome the power of death and the grave is from where the real accounting of Christ and His work on behalf of the sins of the world truly “begins.”

The truth of Jesus, the incarnate Word of God existed before the creation of the world and was present at creation. The truth of Jesus, The Angel of Lord, is present in God’s salvific acts as recorded in the Old Testament. The truth of Jesus is present even before Christ is born of Mary into the world. Yet, it wasn’t until those first disciples came running with shouts of holy joy in “Christ is risen” that the full revelation of the Glory of God in Christ Jesus was revealed and from there the glorified Christ would break through the locked doors of fear, trembling, and uncertainty. It was in the resurrection that the prophetic words of the Old Testament and the recalling of Christ’s own words and deeds, revealed, in full, the great love and mercy of God that existed from the beginning of all creation and beyond.

Easter is the heart of our hope, that, through Christ, he has won for us what we could never gain for ourselves: salvation. The restored relationship with God through the forgiveness of all our sins. This purely self-less act on Christ’s behalf brings hope beyond hope. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” This is the hope to which we cling today through faith, the promise that because Christ lives, we shall live also.

In holding on to this proclamation through belief that Jesus wins victory for us over death and the grave, we are people who live in this world with hope. Hope that transcends the circumstances of our lives in this sinful and broken existence. For in the shouts of “Christ is Risen,” we believe that evil will not have victory over us, for God has revealed a true victory, one that comes not through the power of the ways of this world, but through the sacrifice and service of Jesus on our behalf.

This is the heart of who we are as baptized children of God, bound to Christ’s life, death and resurrection, through the power and promise of the Holy Spirit of God. We are called to be the body of Christ in the world as church. Proclaiming and pointing people to the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. Loving people of the world with the hope that Christ has loved this world first and has won for us all the forgiveness of our sins.

As we gather, each time we celebrate the Divine Service and partake of Christ’s true body and true blood in Holy Communion, we are celebrating Easter, we are continuing the cry, “Christ is Risen!” For in that Holy meal, we feast on the resurrected glory of Christ Jesus and receive once and again, forgiveness, life and salvation as the glory of Christ continues for us. Christ will return and in that great and glorious day he comes with the promise of resurrection of our mortal bodies into full glory and eternal life with him.

Those first shouts of the Easter proclamation that resounded throughout Jerusalem have carried forth for over two thousand years through the Holy Spirit in God’s church. From the very first to the very last, we continue to proclaim the fullness of Christ’s glory in the resurrection as the one and only true hope of the world!

May we all continue to be strengthened and comforted to endure our days as witnesses to the power of the glorious resurrection of Christ over death and grave and may we rejoice, together with all the Saints, in heaven and on earth, that “Christ is Risen! He is Risen, indeed! Alleluia!”

A blessed and joy filled Easter be with you all!

The Rev. Justin K. Vetrano

Senior Pastor, THE LIFE Lutheran Church, Old Westbury, NY

LWML Atlantic District Pastoral Counselor

Nassau Zone


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