Moonbeams met early dawn’s light and bounced off the river as I passed over. The water flowed quietly, the bridge was empty, the morning still. I wondered if this ancient moon paved a path for the women laden with spices and grief so long ago. I hoped so.

We gathered on the front lawn for the sunrise service, just a couple of dozen hardy folk, most with crowns of gray and stiff limbs. Sprinkled in were a youth or two and a few middle-aged, like me. Our metal folding chairs transferred the frigid air into bone-deep shivers. But we were there to celebrate, to make note of a morning unlike any other, and neither an early hour nor the chill could steal our joy. With worship-warmed hearts our voices swirled forth in a frosty Hallelujah! chorus.

I thought about that first resurrection Sunday, when fear and confusion gave way to dare-we-hope? … and exulted when hope reappeared. Within hours, disciples in hiding became apostles empowered to share the Good News. They could not help but tell of their joy!

Two thousand years later, Easter Sunday proclaims victory over the dark angel of death. And because Someone made a way through and we are only passing through, we can have hope. Even, no especially, in the face of otherwise unbearable sorrow, sadness, and loss, we can have hope. Though my heart grieves with those who’ve lost a newborn, for those losing a parent — some slowly, some suddenly — for others battling to reclaim life, for tragic abuses and senseless deaths proliferating the daily news… yet, there is hope!

“Some say it’s cruel for God to make a life and take it / And I suppose that would be true / If this were the world that we were made for / If we weren’t only passing through …” (Carolyn Arends)

I saw this hope in my dad’s eyes, just before he passed over. I didn’t expect to see it there — in an otherwise hopeless hospital room, support systems disconnected and silent. But this was not hope in hope. This was hope in One much greater and proven worthy. There was peace beyond understanding in that sacred space; midst the sorrow there was joy. We could not help but sing! And I knew that my father, the teacher, was imparting his finest lesson: be not afraid.

Christ the Lord has risen! He is risen indeed.

~René Morley

*Read accounts of the resurrection in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20

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