What does it mean to be Easter people, to live on this side of the resurrection? One thing, for sure. We are now God’s hands and feet in the world – we are the ones entrusted with carrying out God’s mission.

That sounds both exciting and terrifying doesn’t it? After all, Jesus left us big shoes to fill and the needs around us are overwhelming.

But the good news is that throughout history, God has empowered and used imperfect people just like us to bring the good news to others.

As we hear the stories of some of those people this week, may we be empowered to be Easter people as well.

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It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you don’t forgive them, they aren’t forgiven.”

John 20:19-23

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Jesus is risen! Mary sees him with her own eyes and returns to tell the disciples. They rejoice and everyone lives happily ever after. Except not. Despite Mary’s announcement, the disciples huddle behind locked doors in fear of the Jews. Will the authorities come to arrest them and crucify them too? Is Mary’s grief making her irrational? People don’t rise from the dead.

And then suddenly, Jesus is standing among them. Alive! They are more afraid than ever now. Will Jesus be angry because they left the scene of the crucifixion? Will he be disappointed they didn’t believe Mary’s words? Will he lecture them about their lack of faith?

No. Jesus’ very first words are, “Peace be with you.” And then to show that he still has faith in this terrified group he says it again and gives them work to do. “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

What is making you afraid? Hear Jesus saying, “Peace be with you.” Then get ready to go and do.

Tracy Hartman

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Jesus, please give me the peace that comes from knowing that you are right here with me. And give me the courage to respond in faith as you send me out into the world. Amen.

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He has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

Go and be Easter people.

Tracy Hartman

Tracy Hartman serves on the faculty of Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond in Richmond VA where she teaches preaching and directs the seminary’s internship program. She also enjoys preaching and teaching throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Tracy and her husband Jay are the parents of two grown children. Tracy enjoys traveling and all kinds of fiber arts.

Wondrous Love: Be Thou My Vision

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