“They remembered the words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest” (Lk 24:8-9)
When you receive this Survey article we will be in the middle of our Lenten Journey being over and the proclamation of Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
But once we can say those words - with a joy, Now what do we do? We traveled to the upper room on Maundy Thursday with Jesus and his disciples. We heard Jesus say those powerful, effective words that are still effective when we hear them on Sunday mornings, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins” (Mt 26:28). We traveled to the foot of the cross on Good Friday and heard Jesus utter a lonely cry of abandonment, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Mk 15:34)? We heard the words of finality that Jesus spoke with his last breath, “It is finished!” (Jn 19:30), paying in full the price for our Sin that separates us from God. And we traveled to the empty tomb to hear again about the group of women that traveled there early on the first day of the week to find it empty. We heard once more the words of the angels at the empty tomb, “He is not here, but has risen” (Lk 24:6). The final, culminating Day of the Resurrection is over. Now what do we do?
The month of April reminds us that Easter is more than just one day. Easter is an “every Sunday” celebration during which we come together to receive the fruit of the cross and resurrection of Jesus—the forgiveness of sins and the certainty of eternal life with God. Easter is also an “every day” celebration in which we live each day trusting in God through Christ, knowing that Jesus is “the resurrection and the life” (Jn 11:25) for us. It is a time in which we can say the name of Jesus and see the power that it invokes.
So what do we do now as we go forth from the empty tomb? Let us follow the example of the first witnesses of the empty tomb. After the two angels reminded Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women that Jesus had risen, St. Luke tells us that “they remembered the words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest” (Lk 24:8-9, emphasis mine). They went forth from the tomb changed by the resurrection of Jesus. They went forth from the tomb to bring an “every day” witness of God’s power over Sin, death, Hell, and Satan himself.
So where do we go once we leave the empty tomb? Let us follow the example of Jesus’ first disciples. After Jesus walked through locked doors to appear to the eleven disciples and to show himself to Thomas, seven of the eleven disciples went back to their fishing business (Jn 21:1-14). They went back to their vocations or stations in life and took the witness of the resurrection with them. They lived in the joy of the resurrection of Jesus while carrying out the daily, ordinary labor and responsibilities given to them.
Similar to the women at the empty tomb and the eleven disciples, we are “every day” witnesses and participants in the resurrection of Jesus. We believe and are baptized. We have the hope of eternal life. We have the joy of the resurrection living inside of us. Also, like the women at the empty tomb and the eleven disciples, we have vocations or stations in life that God has given to us as gift. Most of us are not fishermen, but all of us have one or more of these callings: father, husband, mother, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandparent, employee, retiree, friend, and neighbor. Each of these callings comes with a set of duties and responsibilities. As Christians, by God’s grace we wrap the daily duties and responsibilities of our vocations in the joy, love, peace, and forgiveness of Christ. And, more than likely, others will take notice and God will bless your faithful work by giving you opportunities to “tell all these things to all the rest” (Lk 24:9).
Now, we go forth from Easter Sunday and the celebration of the empty tomb free as God’s forgiven children in Christ. Now we go forth empowered by God’s Spirit living and active within us to live in the joy of the resurrection as “every day” witnesses.
Maybe thats a good name for the evangelism ministry:
EVERY DAY WITNESSES!
Let us be every day witnesses for the gospel with great joy! This month, in the prayer calendar is a daily scripture for praying the name of God to help you develop your every day witness!
Blessings on the journey
Rev. Imani Olear