I like surprises...especially those that bring joy and delight to the other person. I love surprises that are big ones and the little ones, the unexpected ones...surprises that occur without planning and surprises that happen in spite of planning.
I’m a pretty organized person...my days are usually mapped out, and planned activities and tasks are prioritized...AND YET.... there are the surprises that happen that add a certain pizazz to the routine that enrich the day. To come home and enjoy your favorite meal of enchiladas when you expected to have leftover pizza, that’s a great surprise! To receive an unexpected gift, a phone call from your son or daughter in the middle of the week, a Facetime with your granddaughter, those are great surprises!
On that first Easter morning, more than a few were surprised by joy. Having buried Jesus on Friday after the crucifixion, there was sadness and grief, sorrow and despair. And yet the angels proclaim, “He is risen! “Jesus is alive”! Surprise! Death could not hold Him! Sin and death have been conquered! Surprise! Just when Satan had thought that he had won, Jesus proclaims victory over death and the devil! Surprise! All of those Old Testament promises and prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus, the Son of God and also the son of Mary. Surprise to all of the disciples, not one of them had firmly believed that Jesus would do the impossible; He came back from death and the grave and rose victoriously on the third day. Everything looked lost and hopeless; everything seemed pointless until the disciples were surprised by joy.
God, the Holy Spirit, uses the Word and Sacrament to encourage and strengthen our faith. And we have those moments, those seasons in our lives when we are surprised by grace, God’s love and forgiveness poured out on us. We receive it, that is, we believe it for ourselves, that is a welcomed surprise that puts a smile on our face and a warmth in our heart!
Happy Easter everyone! May God continue to surprise you with His power and peace, the awareness of grace and the assurance that you are never alone!
Surprise! He is risen...He is risen indeed!