Christ is risen! The sorrow and fear of the Myrrhbearers who came to the tomb changed into awe and joy when they saw the stone rolled back from the tomb and the angel sitting on it. Matthew the Evangelist testifies for us, “The angel of the Lord said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.’ . . . And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, ‘Rejoice!’ So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid!’” How important it is for all of us in this troubled time to hear those words again – the words of the angel and of the Risen Christ Himself: “Do not be afraid!” For the first time in many years we are celebrating the Pascha of Christ in our homes as the people of Israel celebrated the first Pascha, eating the Passover meal each in their family, in their homes, with the blood of the Lamb on the doorposts. And the Blood that was shed was a sure sign that death was powerless against them. The unbreakable nature of God’s promise told them, “Do not be afraid!” Today, we are hailing the News of the Risen One, singing the hymns and praying behind closed doors. That was the way the Apostles themselves met with it when the doors of their house were locked for fear of the Jews. Jesus came right into their house, He came dispelling all their doubts and fears. The risen Savior came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Christ rose from the dead. Death could not hold Him, nor could the stone of the tomb, nor could the locked doors of the disciples’ house, nor could the walls of their faint hearts. He rose from the dead, triumphing among the sorrows, giving joy in the times of tears, bringing light and comfort amid the darkness of sin. “Do not be afraid!” He is alive. And today, as He overcomes distances, overcomes time, breaks the walls of sin, He wants to be in every nation, in every home, in every heart. He comes to us again and again, calling out, “Do not be afraid!” Do not be afraid of death – I have overcome it. Do not be afraid for your life — it is in My hand. Do not be afraid of sickness, for I have taken your infirmities and sicknesses upon Myself. The risen Lord is with us. No wars, disasters or pandemics could stop the advance of the Gospel on this earth during 2000 years. What is a pandemic? The word pandemic simply means “all people.” And as Christians we know that before His glorious coming there will be a true pandemic, a “pandemic of the Gospel,” of which the Savior Himself announced, saying, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations.” (Mt. 24:14) May the anxiety and dismay in our hearts, too, change into joy and hope! The Risen One says to us, “Do not be afraid! Peace be with you! Rejoice!” Christ is risen!