There is darkness and gloom in this fallen world, but Christ has conquered the world.
It is the most audacious thing in the world to believe the Easter message. And that message is this: death is temporary. When we encounter death, it feels like a permanent separation, an ending of our relationships. But because Jesus rose from the dead, He has conquered death. Now, death is "falling asleep" and we are all waiting for the new day to dawn!
While we have been sheltered in place, many of us feel, in a small way, that we have been inside of the tomb. The analogy is not perfect by any means, but there is a a sense of confinement. I remember feeling this way when I had to spend a month in the hospital with a broken back. I was cut off from normal life and shut away. But what got me through that time, among many things, was the hope that all of this darkness would end.
And it did.
All of this darkness we are experiencing now will end.
I am reminded of the words of the great Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings. When he saw a star shining above the mirky clouds of Mordor he said: "There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach."
This day is that white star that rekindles hope in a land that feels forsaken.
Today is about hope beyond hope. Today we commit ourselves to the belief that light has triumphed over darkness and life has triumphed over death.
He is Risen.