Looking Forward to Sunday: Be Not Afraid

Rev. Daniel Eggold

Apr 7, 2020

Readings:

Jeremiah 31:1–6; Psalm 16; Colossians 3:1–4; Matthew 28:1–10

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ,fresco by Piero della Francesca, 1463

Filled with great joy and fear? This is how Matthew’s gospel describes the disciples in the moments just after they learn that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. As Christians across the world this Sunday to celebrate with prayer, services, and music, a palpable sense of joy fills the air… but fear? Where does fear fit into an Easter celebration?

     Below the surface of the festivities, we all harbor far more fear than our Sunday best might reveal. People struggle with fear, worry, and anxiety. There is fear about money, fear about relationships, fear about the larger changes taking place in our world,fear about belonging and being loved, fear about being good enough, smart enough, or talented enough, fear about illness and death, fear of being judged, even fear of God and the church.

     Sunday’s gospel shows us that we are not alone in our fear. Even as they rejoiced, the first disciples were afraid—afraid of the unknown, afraid of ways they had let Jesus down, afraid of what was coming next for them.

     But to all of us, both the angels and Jesus himself say, “Do not be afraid!” In his earthly life, Jesus experienced the great fears we all live with every day. On the cross he faced the pain and suffering our greatest fears bring.

     But when he emptied that tomb on Easter morning, he also emptied death of its sting and our fears of their bite. Strengthened by each other, Let us proclaim that in Christ’s victory, every path of death has been opened to new life. Let us build up one another’s faith and confidence that because Christ lives, our fears are coming to an end!

Prayer

Almighty God the Father, through Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, You have overcome death and opened the gate of everlasting life to us. Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of our Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by Your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.