As we anticipate Easter, over 1 million COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide. We’ve closed nonessential businesses and quarantined ourselves at home. The technical term for this is “sheltering in place,” which has slowed us down and spurred such questions as: What happens when we leave our dwelling? Where can we go? What should we avoid? 

About two decades ago, the Dutch city of Delft decided to slow down its residents by placing furniture in the streets—planters, chairs, tables and sofas. Cars could still maneuver around these, but barely, and only if they slowed down. Some of us might see COVID-19 as a roadblock to continuing our busy lives. How are we going to maneuver around this stone blocking our path to Easter?

On resurrection morning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary meet at daybreak at Jesus’ tomb. The women experience an earthquake and meet an angel, who rolls back the stone from the entrance of the grave. These cataclysmic events cannot deter the women. They pass by, but the guards pass out—from fear, wonderment or both.

The angel then tells the women that Jesus has risen, and they are bewildered yet consoled by this possibility. The angel invites them to come and see the place where he lay, then commands them, “Go quickly.” In their hurry, the women run smack into Jesus.

To take hold of his feet means to grasp the rock-solid reality of the resurrection, trusting that God has the power to overcome all the horrors and heartaches of the world—even death itself. 

The sight of Jesus causes Mary One and Mary Two to hit the brakes. The Gospel of Matthew offers no details, but they may have started screaming or shaking with fear. Remember, they’d been to a tomb. They were in a cemetery, as it were.

Imagine the flood and confluence of emotions, primal and thrilling, that must have washed over the souls of these women at the sight of Jesus. Then they’re on the ground, clasping the feet of Jesus.

No doubt, they were frightened. Jesus tells them, “Do not be afraid” (Matthew 28:10).

If you’re driving in the Netherlands and come across a sofa in the street, you’ll need to change directions or you’ll suffer a collision. That’s what the resurrection does: It forces us to slow down and change directions. 

Whereas the angel says, “Go quickly,” Jesus says, “Go and tell” (Matthew 28:10). These women will not race past the reality of the resurrection but will revel in and proclaim it. 

On Easter Sunday, Jesus invites us to take hold of his feet and worship him. To come to Jesus means to turn our lives in his direction, to carry forward his love, mercy and righteousness in our own words and deeds. 

To take hold of his feet means to grasp the rock-solid reality of the resurrection, trusting that God has the power to overcome all the horrors and heartaches of the world—even death itself. 

This is the good news: Christ makes us new daily. We’re living a new life!

The transformative truth of Easter does more than slow traffic; it alters our lives completely. Do not be afraid.

William Flippin Jr.
William Flippin Jr. is the director for evangelical mission of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod.

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