Little Rock Scripture Study
Little Rock Connections: The Good News for Today
April 2020

Little Rock Connections April 2020


The Many Emotions of Easter

by Amy Ekeh

If you’re not feeling joyful this Easter, don’t worry. The human emotions found in the Easter stories are more diverse than we might realize.

The Gospel stories of the resurrection of Jesus—known as the Resurrection Narratives—are rich and diverse, describing various encounters with the risen Christ and offering us many wonderful images to ponder and pray with. One reason I love these stories is because they help us understand that Easter is not a one-dimensional, one-size-fits-all experience of joy and exuberance. Rather, encounters with the risen Christ result in all kinds of human emotions, from disbelief and amazement to fear and trembling! And let’s not forget about confusion, and even doubt.

The earliest of the four Gospels, the Gospel of Mark, has the shortest Resurrection Narrative and ends quite abruptly. In Mark’s account (16:1-8), three women approached the tomb of Jesus, intending to anoint his body. Upon discovering the empty tomb and being told by a young man that Jesus had been raised, they were “seized with trembling and bewilderment,” and “they were afraid.” They fled from the tomb! Certainly joy came to these women later. But it was not their first response.

In Luke’s Gospel, a group of disciples encountered a stranger on the road (24:13-35). Of course the stranger was the Risen Christ, but they did not recognize him at first. He walked with them and talked with them. When they ate together—when he broke the bread and gave it to them—they recognized him. But he immediately vanished! The moment of full presence—the moment of understanding what was happening and recognizing who they were with—was painfully fleeting.

And, of course, who could forget Thomas, whose story we read in John’s Gospel (20:24-29)? When he heard that Jesus was raised, Thomas declared that he would not believe unless certain conditions were met. He wanted to see for himself. He wanted to touch the risen Christ! Who doesn’t sympathize with our friend, Doubting Thomas? We’ve all felt the ground shift beneath our feet. Uncertainty is part of life.

And finally, a strange but realistic note is sounded in the Gospel of Matthew, when the disciples approached the Risen Christ on a mountain in Galilee (28:16-20). The text says that when they saw Jesus, “they worshiped, but they doubted.” Worship and doubt seem like opposites, and yet here they are, coexisting in the minds, hearts, and even the bodies of those who are closest to Jesus.

Whatever mixed emotions you may be feeling this Easter are natural and authentic. As the Gospel stories remind us, you are simply an honest participant in a long tradition of being human—of encountering the divine, the mystical, the hard-to-believe, and the profoundly beautiful—in the midst of “regular life.” But in the end, even in the midst of our worries, doubts, and fears, there is a deep-seated, quiet joy in our hearts that can never be taken away. The Lord is risen.


Amy Ekeh is the director of Little Rock Scripture Study and an instructor in the Archdiocese of Hartford Catholic Biblical School. She lives in Milford, CT with her husband and their four children. Amy is the author of several of our Alive in the Word volumes, including Finding Peace: Letting Go of Stress and Worry.




Resources for a time of social distancing 

We are here to support you and your Bible study group during this time of social distancing. Visit our website, littlerockscripture.org, and click on the banner at the top of the page for some helpful resources:

  • Ideas for Bible Study During a Time of Social Distancing
  • A Comparison of Zoom and Skype
  • How to Host a Zoom Meeting
  • How to Join a Zoom Meeting
  • A Prayer in Times of Stress
  • 10 Scripture Passages to Pray with in Uncertain Times

Summer Bible Study?

Though we don’t know when the current social distancing guidelines will be lifted, we can all look forward to a time when we can read and study the Word together again in person. If that happens this summer, consider reconvening your Bible study group for a short study such as The Sermon on the Mount (4 weeks) or one of our Alive in the Word titles (3 weeks). If you can't meet in person, consider meeting online using Zoom or Skype. See the resources above for ideas!


Feel free to reach out with questions, concerns, or just to say hello! You can reach Amy Ekeh at aekeh001@litpress.org or 320-363-2081.

Little Rock Scripture Study

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Phone: 800-858-5434
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