Read Mark 14:26-28; 16:1-7

In our world we witness all around us signs of despair and death: nations, neighborhoods, and churches in conflict; diseases for which there are known cures continuing to ravage populations; mean-spirited persons who refuse to find common ground; prevailing cynicism.

On a morning long ago three women, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome go to the tomb where Jesus has been placed. They are in despair, and they expect to find death. Instead they receive the astonishing news that Jesus is alive. “Don’t be afraid. I know you’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He’s been raised up; he’s here no longer. You can see for yourselves that the place is empty” (Mark 16:6, The Message). The messenger further instructs them to tell the disciples that they will find Jesus in Galilee.

Even in the midst of great despair, of problems and circumstances for which there seems to be no way forward, of issues around which the differences seem unbridgeable; especially in these times, God’s action intervenes and hope breaks forth. This is the fundamental promise of our faith.

Our Christian faith provides a wonderful cycle of hope for life. As “The Hymn of Promise” proclaims, “In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory, unrevealed until its season something God alone can see.”

Jesus, who conquered even death, offers that hope. Jesus knew betrayal and death awaited him, yet he did not shrink from his call. And on that Easter morning the message was heard that bears witness to the living Christ. It must become our message: “He is not here. He is risen!”

Holy God, help us to see life’s possibilities in all times. May we be open to encountering the hope you bring into our lives, our ministries, our decisions. Amen.

—Jane Allen Middleton

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Today we pray for wisdom and strength for all the members of the General Conference as they enter the final three days of their work.


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