This Jesus, God raised up. We are all witnesses to that fact. — Acts 2:32 (CEB)
In the season following Easter, it seems that Jesus’ death and resurrection should have utterly transformed the world. Jesus is risen! He has appeared to his disciples, and the Holy Spirit dwells within us. And yet, the world still suffers violence and unrest. People still become ill and face persecution. For Jesus’ first followers it might have seemed easier to reflect on the incredible events and life of Jesus Christ with gratitude and awe but then move in a less challenging direction than the one to which Christ called them.
At times, it is tempting to give up, to turn away from a confusing calling or challenging ministry or the exhausting good work God has called us to. But as many of the writers in this issue remind us, the difficult times often give us the opportunity to experience God’s presence anew and reclaim our identities as God’s beloved children. They remind us that following Christ is not without difficulties, but it is worth it in the end. When we hold on to the promise of new life in Christ and remain persistent in prayer and steadfast in faithful living, we claim the hope of resurrection that the season of Easter embodies.
Living as Easter people amidst the challenges of daily life is not easy, but together — as the body of Christ — we can remind one another of the hope and joy that God offers to us all. As we travel this season together, I pray that the honest words of struggle and encouragement in this issue will give you strength to persevere when life is not easy and that the stories of joy will help you to celebrate the good life made possible through Jesus Christ.