Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” (John 20:18)
Even though the first three months of 2012 have come and gone, the world still looks very much the same as it was in 2011. While the slaughter of the innocents remains unchecked in Syria, extremists continue to terrorize the majority in countries like Pakistan, Iraq and even, Thailand. Many nations also continue to suffer from the after effects of natural disasters like earthquake, tornadoes and famine.
In Malaysia, there is still the ongoing concern over the economy and rising cost of living. Politicians carry on using the race card with the hope to gain greater support from one section of the population in the looming General Elections. Religious tension continues to simmer, with new but unsubstantiated allegations made against the Malaysian church for trying to “Christianize” our Muslim friends.
As a result, many do wonder if things would ever change for the better. Or that these situations would instead become worse in days and months to come.
The disciples, who witnessed the brutal death of their Lord on that dark Friday, probably had the same questions whether the situations will change for the better. In all likelihood, all of them were frustrated and were in despair of their predicament. As Jesus lay lifeless in the tomb, their hope was equally dead too.
Then comes that seismic announcement by Mary Magdalene, “I have seen the Lord!” An announcement that turns everything upside down. Because Christ is risen, the Cross is not a defeat but victory. Because Christ is risen, sin and death no longer hold us captive. Because Christ is risen, a new order is now at work in the world.
Through the water of baptism and the sacrament of bread and wine, we too can say that, “We have seen the Lord!” Like Mary and the disciples, we are the people of the Resurrection. Like Mary and the disciples, we need to go out and proclaim this good news through our loving words and self-denying actions.
On this Easter Sunday, with a firm belief in the power of Christ’s resurrection and with a heart of thankfulness, we must join St. Paul in saying, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
On behalf of my family and the Executive Council, I wish all of you a ‘Blessed Easter.” May the fact of the Resurrection inspires and strengthens us for the mission of the Church.
Bishop Philip Lok, Lutheran Church in Malaysia & Singapore