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Happy Easter!  He is risen!  He is risen, indeed!  Our Easter sermon I, “I Believe in the Resurrection.” It is this simple affirmation that separates the Christian faith from any other!  We believe that Jesus was raised from the dead and with him we will be raised too.  Jesus has conquered death forever.  This is a poignant Easter with the impact of the COVID-19 virus.  There has been so much suffering and death.  We turn to the Gospel of Matthew 28:8-20 for our scripture.  The women are greeted at the tomb by an angel who tells them that Jesus is not there, but he has risen from death.  The angel instructs them to go and tell his disciples.  As they leave the tomb, they encounter the risen Lord.  This encounter with Jesus helped them to overcome fear and find joy!  We learn that this simple affirmation, “I believe,” leads to strength and hope for all of our lives.  As you read Matthew 28:8-20, we pray that the joy of Easter and the hope of the resurrection will fill your heart!  Matthew 28:8-20: 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” 11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. 16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)