A Preface to Pastoral Care after Easter

What does this mean? Luther asks this of each of the Ten Commandments, each petition of the Lord’s Prayer, and the Creed in order to reveal the implications of our articles of faith. We ask this question of Easter Sunday in the context of pastoral care.

What does it mean to us that our Lord was raised from the dead when we are speaking to a child with no past and no discernible future with her birth family? What does it mean to look for the resurrection when we are caring for people with addictions? What does it mean that we profess a risen Christ when we are counseling partners in a marriage which seems to be disintegrating? How do we speak to the prisoner of the risen Christ?

We asked professionals in the fields of marital counseling, addiction, foster care, and prison chaplaincy how we care for people on Easter Monday. After we celebrate the miraculous on Easter Sunday, we find ourselves re-entering a broken, already/not yet kind of world where glibly repeating promises of Sunday may not be enough. Three of our four respondents chose to tell the stories of people who have experienced living death. One says “I was lost and now I am new.” Another relates how at last she learned to trust. A third experiences reconciliation for the first time.

Do we witness the resurrection to these people, or do they witness the resurrection to us? Whatever the order, it seems clear from our respondents that both those giving and those receiving pastoral care experience resurrection Easter Monday and every day thereafter.

Kaari Reierson

Kaari Reierson is the founding editor of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics and is the Chair of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics Advisory Council.