+ Romans 6:4 “We are buried with Christ through baptism into death so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of God, we too, may live a new life…”
On Easter morning, we baptized 5 of our young disciples. Parents and grandparents and friends gathered to witness this wonderful event.
This was a reenactment of the resurrection…
On Easter morning, I asked each of these young people: Do you believe in a living God, a redeeming Christ, and an inspiring Holy Spirit? And they said yes.
With that, I lifted them down into the deep, holy waters of our baptistery. And then, I raised them up to their whole cloud of witnesses at the church.
But across the world in South Korea, in this very same weekend, other parents, other grandparents and friends wait and grieve as they, too, witnessed their young people submerged under deep waters.
A ship of 475 passengers took a sharp turn in a fast current and began to tip over. Reports say that the captain waited 30 minutes to order an evacuation.
Nearly 175 passengers, including the captain and many crew members escaped.
But 100 were lost in this accident, and 200 are still missing.
They say families of those lost can be heard crying and wailing loudly on the shores.
The sorrow is deep among these witnesses… these parents. It’s as if they stand at the foot of the cross…
After Jesus carried the heavy cross through Jerusalem, he was brought to a hill on Calvary, and there, his loved ones wept. There, the sounds of piercing cries and screams from his mother who wept for her son could be heard.
Then, early, on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb of her Rabbi. It was still dark. She came to grieve, she came to pay tribute and keep vigil with her beloved who had died.
But when she arrives, the stone that covered the tomb was rolled away…
This resurrection story continues to whisper good news: Tombs will be emptied. All of the tears in our eyes will be wiped away. Hope will be restored. Even out of death, God will draw out life, and strength, and new beginnings.
When Christ was lowered into the tomb, into the burial waters, he went with his arms wide open. Jesus outstretched his arms to reach for all of God’s people.
Under those burial waters, he reached for the 200 still missing in the ocean off the Coast of South Korea and gathered them close, he reached for our mothers, fathers, grandparents, and lost friends. Jesus reached for all those who we have loved and lost.
And with one embrace, with one holy act of love through resurrection, Christ has carried all those we have loved and lost into the presence of God.
In Eastertide, we celebrate empty tombs, we celebrate the arms of Christ that reach around the whole world.
The good news of Easter is this- every tomb will be emptied because Christ has put death to death with those outstretched arms of hope.