April 24, 2019
Christ is risen! As we celebrated on Sunday, Jesus has risen victoriously from the dead. Yet on the day of the highest festival of the Church, Christians around the world also felt the dissonance of the news coming out of Sri Lanka: terrorist bombs destroying churches and hotels, killing more than three hundred people in an attack timed to intimidate Christians. In such violence, I believe we see not merely human malice, but evidence that the defeated demonic powers of death still rage against the life-giving name of Jesus. Ever since Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, the Church has lived in an age when, in the words of Revelation 12:12, "the devil has come down to us with great wrath, because he knows that his time is short."
Because of Jesus' triumph over death and evil, we can make the prophet Micah's words our own when we face adversity: "Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me" (Micah 7:8). Jesus did not promise that we shall not face trouble in this world. In fact he told his followers to expect persecution (John 16:33). Yet even in great tragedies like Sunday's bombings in Sri Lanka, Jesus' followers share in his victory over death. To turn again to Revelation 12, martyrs like the faithful worshipers who died on Sunday in Sri Lanka, "have conquered [the accuser] by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, for they did not cling to life even in the face of death" (Rev. 12:11). Our enemy's time has been cut short, and he has no reason to rejoice. When we fall, we will rise. Even in times of darkness, Christ's light is brighter.
Grace and Peace,