Every year, my father, John Simmons, Sr., shaves his head on Resurrection Sunday. He does so to remember his grandfather, Anthony DeFillipo, and my stillborn brother, Myles Joseph. Both died on a Resurrection Sunday (DeFillipo in 2003 and Myles in 2004).
This year I decided to participate in my father’s annual demonstration of mourning and remembrance. For the first time in my life, the hairs on my head were reduced to stubble.
Even though my father and I both outwardly demonstrated that we were grieving the loss of two of our loved ones, inwardly we are filled with hope—hope in our resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.
The empty tomb and the angels declare the majesty and power of our King: “He is not here, he has risen!” (Matthew 28:6). He is risen in glorious might, with authority to judge the nations, save the lost and raise the dead to life. And on Resurrection Sunday, despite restrictions on large gatherings due to COVID-19, Christians still soaked their souls with the best news of all.
But what does this mean for the days after the Easter celebration?
With such a declaration of victory, the Church should be advancing into the world with joy and confidence. Our weapons are forged, and they “have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). These are the strongholds of evil that have infected our society and destroyed much that is good.
Why then, do we fear? Why does the flame ignited on Sunday cool off so quickly on Monday morning? Perhaps it is because of the daunting challenges that face us at home, in politics, and any other aspect of our lives.
Home life is deteriorating because of the staggering divorce rates in our country. The American Psychological Association states that 40-50 percent of couples get divorced, causing long-lasting trauma and pain for thousands of families.
Government officials sit idly by while Christian liberties are under attack. In Kentucky, individuals who attend a service will be tracked down by local government and placed under house arrest in the name of “safety.” This starkly infringes the rights explained in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” If our officials will not protect our rights, who will?
The list continues. Millions of infants are murdered in the name of “women’s rights.” Biblical sanctity of marriage has been thrown to the wayside. King David said it best when he declared, “There is none who does good, not even one” (Psalm 14:3). Add on a global pandemic, and the world seems desperately hopeless.
But because of this empty grave, we have hope.
Because Jesus broke the chains of evil and death, my father and I can approach tomorrow with confidence that we will one day see our loved ones next to the One who freed them from death’s lasting defeat.
And because Jesus has overcome the world, our hearts need not be troubled when the trials of tomorrow wait for us. We do not need fear them, because a king who has dismantled their power walks alongside us.
Wherever you are in this pandemic, and whatever sphere of influence you have, carry the light of the Gospel with you. God has strategically placed you to proclaim His victory exactly where you are. All you need to do is proclaim it boldly.
Take this hope—and not mourning—with you today and into tomorrow. Jesus is risen, and He reigns!