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  • Writer's pictureBen Schafer

The Eternal Hope of Easter

The picture above was taken at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, just north of the Damascus Gate of the Old City and one of the possible locations of the tomb of Christ. Earlier this year, I had the profound privilege to go on a pilgrimage to Israel. It was a mind-opening experience, providing inspiration not only for spiritual growth but also for creative endeavors. Even though that trip was not that long ago, the world has become unrecognizable in the weeks since I returned to the United States. Novel coronavirus or COVID-19 has placed the world in a shutdown. The world is afraid, hurting, and in a desperate search for hope. But this is nothing new. The world has always been full of fear and panic, despair and pain. The modern world has enriched itself and wrapped itself in a cloak of technology, firmly believing that we have evolved beyond the darkness of the world. We have become like children, pulling a blanket over our heads in the vain belief that hiding ourselves from trouble will make that trouble go away. This virus has found its way inside the blanket, and the panic we see worldwide is a result of the terrible realization that we have not evolved beyond disease, pain, and death.

And yet, the tomb of Christ is empty.

The early followers of Jesus found themselves in a very similar circumstance. A mere week before Passover, they were part of a popular movement that was sweeping Israel. Jesus was greeted on approach to Israel as a king, with praises and honor that the Romans and their puppet Herod could only receive with the threats of force. To a man, the Apostles believed that they were on the cusp of returning Israel to freedom, Jesus to the throne, and themselves in positions of prestige. Then, only days later, their world was in ruins. Their Messiah was dead, killed publicly and humiliated by the very people who cried out in praise for Him. The blanket had been removed and they were exposed to the truth of a world in sin. But that was not the end of the story.

Three days after He was crucified, the tomb of Christ was empty.

The Apostles realized that their earlier arrogance had been misguided, and they set about the true work of spreading the message of Christ. Their understanding of the universe was transformed, and they went on to transform the rest of the world. Likewise, this current circumstance should awaken us from our previous slumber. We were not meant for mere survival. Life is not, as the materialists would have you believe, simply a chemical reaction of no consequence. On the contrary, it is of every consequence. Use this time to reflect upon the blessings in your life from friends and family to the work that puts food on your table. This is a time to realize how incredibly blessed we are to live in a time such as this. Use your blessings to help those who need it. Don't focus on your fear, but be a light for others.

This, too, shall pass. The tomb of Christ will remain empty for eternity.

Happy Easter to you all. He is risen. He is risen, indeed.

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