Easter Morning

“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”
(Mark 16:1-3)

Early Easter morning in 1993, my family was excited because it was the first time all family members were joining the Easter sunrise service. We dressed up with new white dresses my mother made. We walked toward the church together. I still remember that we were full of joyful noise and laughing on the street. My family sat in the very front pew of the sanctuary. My father was baptized that morning. What a wonderful moment! It was the day that one of my mother’s prayers was answered. She prayed that all my family would become Christians and attend worship services sitting together in the same pew in the sanctuary. It was an exciting and grateful morning.

That Easter morning gave us new hope; my family was born again in Christ as a “Christian family.” It was a liberating moment from a patriarchal family mindset. Since then, we stopped ancestor worship, which is held thirteen times a year. My mother used to prepare food, and all men attended ancestor worship. They didn’t allow women to participate in ancestor worship. But, since my father was baptized, we stopped all ancestor worship. Instead, we started home services with all the family gathered together led by me, a woman leader. Easter morning brought a miracle to my family. In my memories, Easter is a gate of new hope, new beginning and new world, which is a big day for celebration.

However, I wonder if some of you still look for the dead body of Jesus; if you are suspicious and doubtful; if you are still worried like some women and his disciples. Even though Jesus taught of his resurrection to his disciples, no one understood. As soon as Jesus died on the cross, his disciples disappeared, ran away, and returned to their hometown full of disappointment. A few women who followed Jesus went to Jesus’ tomb bringing spices, which meant they didn’t expect Jesus’ resurrection. They looked for the dead body of Jesus “so that they might go and anoint him.” They were still worried about “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” However, they met an angel with dazzling white clothes, who told them about “Jesus’s resurrection,” and reminded them what Jesus taught them. However, they were too afraid to tell anyone (Mark 16:8). The next day, Jesus showed Mary Magdalene, and she shared the news with others. However, they didn’t believe it. In the Gospel, the Book of Mark says, “When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it” (Mark 16:11).

What about you? Do you believe in Jesus’ resurrection? What do you expect this Easter morning? We couldn’t keep our church’s traditional Easter rites for the past two years due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The COVID 19 pandemic seems to be on the decline, but war has broken out between Ukraine and Russia. The war is not only for those two countries, but it is also affecting people all over the world. Every morning, we hear the news that there are wars, poverty, refugees, and violence. We pray for it to get better. Instead, it is getting worse and worse. However, let us expect God’s work to shine through. There have been times when we didn’t think we could make it, but God made things happen. God, who gave us his only Son for the world, because he loved us so much-and still does, He may restore all creation and reconciliation between one another.

I hope that this Easter brings hope to all people who believe in Jesus Christ. As a miracle happened for my family, why wouldn’t we expect a miraculous Easter morning? Easter is a great Sunday celebration for all Chris-tians. It focuses on Christ’s resurrection, ascension, and the giving of the Holy Spirit on the first Easter (John 20:22-23). I appreciate our church leaders who work on God’s ministry sincerely. We will celebrate Easter season with several events. The “Easter Craft and Bake Sale” at Atlas UMC on April 9th, Maundy Thursday Service and Soup Supper at Central-Grantsburg UMC on April 14th, a Holy Saturday Event at Atlas Park on April 16th, and Easter Breakfast at Central-Grantsburg on April 17th. Let us gather together and celebrate God’s miraculous work! Tell people of Jesus’ resurrection again and again until all people believe in him. I am excited for this East-er morning, expecting God’s other miraculous works.

Pastor Jenny