Fear and Joy

April 16, 2017

Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:1-10

Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’ –Matthew 28:7-10

Fear and joy are an interesting combination of reactions. These two emotions come together in anticipation of something happening that is more wondrous than can be imagined. How do we respond when the unimaginable appears before our very eyes?

God calls us to be and do things beyond our human expectations. I was in college when the Broadway show, Man of La Mancha opened and I saw it in my senior year 1968-69 as it traveled across the country. Remember the world was falling apart in 1968. The Vietnam War was ablaze, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, and Robert Kennedy was assassinated on June 6. Hope was in short supply among my generation. And then I am introduced to a song, titled The Quest that put in prospective for me the call God made to all of us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I have been a pragmatic optimist ever since.

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star*

So it was with fear and joy that the women raced from the tomb to deliver the message that Jesus was alive and ran smack into him on the way. The truth is he is waiting for us on the track as we run the race he has called us to make. As bad as things may seem, faith, hope, and love can overcome any barriers in our way. Jesus is calling, let’s go.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for the gift of Jesus Christ, thank you for his mercy and his grace, and thank you for his strength when we experience fear spiced with joy. Amen.

*From The Quest See at http://www.reelclassics.com/Actors/O’Toole/impossibledream-lyrics.htm

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.