He is risen.
He is risen, indeed.
This call and response is my favourite part of Easter Sunday. The affirmation of the entire church body affirming that truth is a welcomed sound.
Especially now. Especially here. Especially today.
Especially when there are shooters killing innocent people, presidents fighting with other countries on social media, bombs bigger than we ever knew existed, and hurting hearts that leave our world too soon. Especially when there is depression and sickness and anxiety and stress. Especially when there are too many bad things happening in our community, country, and world to ever fit into a 60 minute news segment.
What a scary world we live in. I'll be the first to admit that it completely terrifies me. But what a relief to know that we serve a God who is not scared by it. We serve a God who is not surprised by it. We serve a God who is still holding the whole world in His hands (remember that kids song?).
For the last few weeks I read through the book of Isaiah with my She Reads Truth community. It's my favourite book of the Bible, and I loved the chance to reread it with Easter in mind. I loved seeing the heartache and brokenness and sin that would destroy a people group, only to turn the page to remember God's promises of restoration and freedom and new beginnings. The heartbeat of Isaiah is not that God's people rejected Him, although they did. The constant heartbeat of Isaiah, the consistent refrain following every description of their own folly, was God's mercy and grace to continually restore. Forever redeem. Always go back to what He had initially planned.
Their brokenness was not stronger than His ability to make something new.
The first time I read Isaiah I though, wow these same words could have been written about my country and my people. We are disobedient, we are often arrogant, we frequently choose our gods and idols over the Creator Himself. We get ourselves into trouble, we create our broken places, and then we sit there because we don't have the power to lift ourselves out.
But God . . .
For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former things will no the remembered or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing and her people for gladness.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people;
And there will no longer be heard in her
The voice of weeping and the sound of crying.
The New Testament is an invitation for those of us who are not descendants from God's original people to also receive these promises. Jesus on the cross was that promise in action; closing the gap between the old and the new. And while we're not quite there yet, while things aren't completely restored and crying is still heard, we live in the interim that Isaiah never knew: between the now and not yet. We live everyday knowing that He is risen indeed. We live knowing that the promise came, but will also come again to finish what He started.
He is risen indeed. On Easter Sunday and every day. And maybe knowing that could make navigating this world a little easier.
Let's cling to what the risen Christ means for our lives, and the promises that He has yet to fulfill.