Getting a phone call in the middle of the night is never a good thing. I remember the second time my father had open-heart surgery. It was a long procedure and a difficult one, and after it was done the doctor called us to his office and said, “There’s been some bleeding. We’ll let you know, but you should go home now and rest.” And so going home that night, I listened for a phone call in the middle of the night and was awakened only to find out it was morning and it was birds singing, not the phone ringing. My father had made it through the night, and in fact he did recover from the surgery.
This is the joy we feel at Easter, but magnified. All of the hope that had been dashed on Good Friday, the terrible pressure of grief, the terrible pressure of knowing there was no future in the world, only on Sunday to be greeted not by the ringing of a telephone announcing death but the loud clear singing of alleluias. This is the joy we have, and it’s a promise so strong that even when we do die, even when we do confront death, we have the hope and the assurance of eternal life.
Easter makes it possible for us, even at the grave, to sing alleluia. Christ is risen. Alleluia. Happy Easter, dear church.
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
To watch the Easter message from Presiding Bishop Eaton, click here.