Bright Joy of the Resurrection!


From the betrayal by Judas to Jesus’ burial in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb, the events of those few hours cast a pall over all the followers of Jesus. As Mary Magdalene and the other Mary left for the tomb early on Sunday morning, darkness covered both the land and their hearts. However, the angel’s announcement of Jesus’ resurrection scatters the darkness. It would be like watching a movie on an old, black and white television and suddenly brightness and clarity replace the grainy darkness. The announcement of Christ’s resurrection still brings a joyful hope to those who stand at graves, longing for the One who conquers death.

Local liturgical artist, Kelly Schumacher, a member at St. Paul in Des Peres, portrays the risen Christ with brightness and color that stands in such contrast to Good Friday’s darkness (pictured left). Of this work, Kelly writes, “This painting is based on a combination of Old Testament and New Testament references. The garment our Lord is wearing is full of colors. God sent Noah a rainbow as a sign of His covenant to never destroy the earth by water again. Jacob gave Joseph a coat of colors as a gift to demonstrate his favor. In traditional Christian iconography, the resurrected Christ waves a victory banner as He steps forth from the grave. In this interpretation, Christ wears the victory banner. His head is covered with a crown of thorns, transformed into a halo. Light beams project how Christ’s suffering brought good to all mankind.” (To view more of Kelly’s works, go to her website -

From choral anthems to Sunday school lessons, from confirmation classes to SHINE! servant events, everything that our congregations and schools do is for the purpose of proclaiming the risen Christ to all the world. As we confess through our corporate and individual witnessing, we bring the resurrection of Jesus into brightness and clarity and this news scatters the darkness of sad hearts. This issue of The VOICE highlights some of the ways that the Gospel message is bringing hope to students on college campuses, Chinese Americans, and to the deaf community.

Our prayer is that the Gospel proclamation of our congregations, the teaching of our schools and the witness of God’s people, would bring the splendid colors of God’s grace into this dark world. Now is not a time for fear and timidity, but joyful confidence in the risen Christ!

Rev. Dr. R. Lee Hagan was born in Birmingham, Ala., and graduated from Concordia, Seward, Neb., in 1992. He holds both a Master of Divinity Degree (1996) and Doctorate of Ministry (2011) from Concordia Seminary. Hagan served as Senior Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran in Concordia, Mo. (1996-2015) and was previously an Associate Pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Evansville, Ind. (1996-2002). He has been President of The Missouri District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod since June 2015. Hagan also served as Interim Director, LCMS Rural and Small Town Mission (2011-12), on numerous District Boards both in Missouri and Indiana, and during multiple Synodical Conventions as a delegate and on Floor Committees. He is married to Jill and they have two children.