Resurrection of our Lord/Easter Day
April 1, 2018
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Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!
“So they went out and fled from the tomb for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
The Easter Gospel from Mark is certainly brief, and not very encouraging. Where’s the part where the women tell the guys, of Jesus showing up to his astonished followers? I want to suggest to you that this story is open-ended to include you in its message of what comes after the resurrection. It connects to the life we are living this moment and this day, and includes you in the telling of the conclusion. Marks Gospel leaves out some of what we expect, but it leaves a place for Jesus to meet you in his resurrection promise that he will meet his followers at home, where their families are and where they work
We’ve been talking about Covenants in these weeks leading up to Easter. A Covenant is a promised agreement between two people. It is a joint commitment. Marriage vows are a covenant. The resurrection story is at the center of a long story of God’s love for the world, and God’s creation of a people to be the bearers of that story to all people. The Hebrew Bible is the story of God’s promises to God’s people and their failure to live up to their part of the partnership. Through all the stories of God’s loving promises to people, we watched as humans failed again and again to love God and love each other. People wanted to prosper at the expense of others, they trusted political leaders to give them success instead of trusting that they were meant to be a light to the nations.
When all else failed God came in person as Jesus, to show people what real love looks like. The real love that flows from God is love that heals those who are sick, possessed, ostracized and marginalized, and welcomes them back into their families and their communities. The love that flows from God is love that includes and forgives those who have thrown away their consciences and violated the rights of others. Jesus showed us that love that tries to right the wrongs of humanity against the powerless and disenfranchised is a threat to the powers of this world. Those who confront the systems of power and privilege will be crushed. Jesus’ innocent suffering and death exposes both the world’s cruelty and a love that is so deep it is unafraid in the face of death. When we see Jesus on the cross, we see straight into the heart of a loving God who meets the worst that humans can dish out with courage and forgiveness for his torturers.
At the last supper with his friends, when Jesus says that the cup he offers is the ‘new covenant in in my blood, shed for you and for all for the forgiveness of sins,” he is finishing the story of God’s covenant with God’s people. He is offering a promise that even death will not separate us from God’s love, and in his resurrection he offers the proof that God’s promises are real, the final truth about the power of God’s love.
If you came here this morning afraid for the world we hear about in the news, I have good news for you. If you came here this morning weary of searching for something solid and true that you can trust, I have good news. If you are hungry for something deep and meaningful to anchor the day to day life that swirls around you, barely touching your unease for your children and grandchildren and yourself, I have good news. Jesus is not dead. He is not quietly tucked away in some remote location that you need some special mojo to access. The young man in the tomb told the women that Jesus had gone home to Galilee, waiting to meet them in the work they were going to be doing. They didn’t believe it, and they didn’t expect anyone else to believe it either. The good news is that it is true. In his resurrection, Jesus gives us the proof that God’s love is stronger than anything that can hurt us, and that Jesus is still at work in the world, waiting to meet us as we take up our part in God’s story.
The good news is that Jesus meets us where we are. In our struggles as parents and singles, as community volunteers and retirees, as bosses and employees, as people who strive to make the world more just and more loving, Jesus walks with us. He wants us to know that God is with us, that the world is both painful and redeemed. He wants us to know that we are meant to be exactly who we are, that we are loved, made for this time and place. I want you to know when you leave this morning that you are loved beyond anything that you can imagine, and that Jesus came back from death to tell you that. This is the new covenant that Jesus’ won for us in his life and death and resurrection: the guarantee that God’s love for you is unbreakable, unstoppable, present in every breath you take. I want you to know when you wake up on Monday morning and every day after that, that your life is resurrected, too. God’s covenant is God’s promise to meet you where you are in the life you live – your Galilee – and that nothing you can do or the world can do to you, can change that. “So off you go,” says the young man, “get out there to meet Jesus in your world, trusting that the love that raised Jesus from the dead is the same love that created you for the life you are living. Don’t be afraid. You’re all set. You have everything you need.”
Christ is Risen! Alleluia!