From Pauses for Pentecost
The women hurried away from the tomb,
afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
Eastertide is a time for us to open our hearts and minds more widely to the joy of God. These women at the tomb, frightened as they are by the events that have taken place, are nonetheless filled with joy. The joy of the risen Christ has pervaded their whole beings. Somehow they now know deep down that, because of what has taken place in the empty tomb, ultimately all will be well.
Fullness of joy characterizes Easter people. Remember Jesus’s promises to his disciples on the night before his crucifixion: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete,” (John 15:11). When we are full of joy, life really becomes worth living. Full joy is, as Dallas Willard has written, our first line of defense against weakness, failure, and disease of mind and body.” Even when these things do break into our lives, “the joy of the Lord is your strength,” (Nehemiah 8:10)
How do we open ourselves to this resurrection joy? Certainly we cannot manufacture it for ourselves. It can only be produced in our lives by the Spirit of Christ himself. This does not mean we sit back and do nothing. It is always our responsibility to continually focus our hearts and minds – not on our past failures or sins, on our future concerns and worries, or on those ever-present struggles that come our way each day but on the God who raised Jesus from the dead. As we choose to do this with simple trust, the Holy Spirit will impart greater measures of divine joy into our lives.
There can be no greater joy than knowing that nothing, not even death, can ever separate us from the love that God has for us in Jesus Christ. (See Romans 8:38-39.) Will you choose to open yourself more deeply to this joy today?
Spend a few moments quietly worshiping God. Praise God for the mighty work that God did in raising Jesus from the grave. Repeat and memorize Psalm 92:4: “For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.”