The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen.”
— Matthew 28:5-6 (NIV)
As I write this, our world is facing a pandemic. Uncertainty about the immediate future is spreading nearly as fast as the disease, alternately taking root as panic or denial. Vast numbers of people are quarantined to help slow the spread of the virus. Right now the future is unclear, and we are newly aware of the fragile nature of life.
While the themes of uncertainty and the fragility of life have greater weight at this moment than at other times, they are not new. Many writers in this issue speak about seeking God’s guidance as they make life-altering decisions or receive a fearsome diagnosis. Some recall wondering as young people what shape their lives would take. Others write about being surprised when they faced roadblocks along the path that they had chosen or had to change course entirely. Through it all, however, each writer tells of God’s unfailing presence.
How fitting, then, that we have entered the season of Lent. In the days leading up to Jesus’ death, the disciples surely experienced confusion, fear, and denial as they followed Jesus into an uncertain future. As we walk with Jesus and the disciples toward Jerusalem and toward the Cross, we experience their confusion and fear. Where are we going? What will happen? How will we go on without our Beloved Teacher? But when the questions become too numerous or the fears threaten to overwhelm us, the gospel reminds us that hope waits beyond the Cross. Death is not the final word. This moment is not the only moment. There is hope of new life ahead. And in each moment, our loving God walks with us.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.