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                                         “But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid…’”
                                                                                                                          -   Matthew 28:5a  

In Matthew, the scene the women encounter at the empty tomb is pretty terrifying.  An angel descends from heaven with such force that it causes an earthquake and then rolls away the massive stone from the tomb, revealing that it is empty.  I can only imagine the women quaking in fear and shock.  So, the first words that the angel speaks to them are very appropriate - “Do not be afraid…”  Then, a short while later, they stumble upon the resurrected Jesus who greets them and offers the same words of reassurance, telling them, “Do not be afraid.”  

This is an important part of the Easter message: Do not be afraid.  It is an important part of the Easter message because life can be scary.  And NEW life can be even scarier.  New life involves change and we all know how scary change can be.  New life involves dying to our old ways, our old ideas, our old fears, prejudices, and self-destructive tendencies, so that God can raise up something better.   

And just like the two Mary’s in Matthew’s Gospel, we are not only comforted with the reassurance to not be afraid, but we are also challenged to go out and share the good news of this life-giving change.  And that can also be scary!  Sharing the life-giving message of God’s love to a world mired in death and hatred can be scary.  People do not always want to hear it!  And yet, we are reassured that God goes with us as we bear witness to God’s life-giving work.  We are promised that Jesus goes ahead to meet us on our journey, to give us the strength and courage to tell others about the new things that God is doing in our lives and in the world.  

The Good News of Easter is that God is able to bring life out of death.  Wherever you are experiencing grief, pain, or heart-ache in your life, the promise of the resurrection is that God is able to bring life even out of this.  Wherever you see death, destruction, and hatred in the world, the promise of the resurrection is that God is able to bring life even out of this.  So, do not be afraid.  Do not be afraid, because our God is a God of life - new life - and will carry us through even the scariness of change.  Alleluia!