March 27, 2016
Luke 24: 1-12
It’s done! Alleluia! Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
The crosses have been put away and the black cloths that covered the altar stripped away. The dirges have been sung and the sober services of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night are done. The sober season of Lent, in which we remember our failures and lack of faith, Jesus’ suffering, and our suffering world is finished. But for me Easter is not the same without that process of remembering.
It’s been hard this year. The world is a crazy place, and you have to look hard to hear any good news. The big stories are always the horror stories; the bombings, the invasions, the deaths, the conspiracies and the overheated political rhetoric. It makes me tired and the last six weeks of remembrance have given me a place to sit with the pain of the world and the people who I know who are suffering in it. The tragedy of Jesus’ death has played out against the tragedies of our own world this year.
I listened to the stories of the injustice directed at Jesus with hungry ears this year. I wanted to know that God really could change the world into the Kingdom Jesus talked about – where no one is hungry or unsheltered, no one dies too young, no one suffers needlessly. I saw a cartoon recently in which one man was saying to another, “I wanted to ask God how come people were starving and children were dying, and God didn’t help. But I was afraid that God would ask me the same question.”
Even in the story we have before us this morning, the women’s experience is dismissed as foolish and they were disregarded. Humans are still the same from the beginning of our Bible stories until today. And God came to give us another way.
Jesus didn’t change the world by bringing a new government or a by becoming a benevolent overlord or superhero. God came to stand against the powers of evil and corruption by being in solidarity with everyone who suffers at the hands of injustice. God came to stand against the powers of evil by forgiving his oppressors. God raised Jesus from death to show us that death is never stronger than the love of God. Jesus’ resurrection is the guarantee that every promise made to us is true and that God can accomplish it all.
“Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” said the man in dazzling clothes. “Then they remembered his words…..”
Jesus came to re-member our world. To put it back together after it had been torn limb from limb. God’s love is the power that puts everything back in it’s proper place. God’s love brought Jesus back from death, the ‘first fruits of those who have died.” Says the Apostle Paul. In Jesus’ death, we see how far God is willing to go to show us God’s enormous love for us. When we see Jesus on the cross, we see straight into God’s loving heart, the heart that is willing to take on our experience and stand against all the forces that make us cruel and selfish and ungrateful. We are forgiven for our imperfection and invited into God’s arms. Salvation is not just about heaven or hell at the end of our lives, it is about living out God’s loving care for us in this world, or living in hell in this world without knowing God’s love.
When we remember Jesus’ death and resurrection, we re-member our lives, living in God’s forgiveness and lavish love. When we remember Jesus’s life of love and service and his command to do likewise, we become part of God’s re-membering our world. Our hands become God’s hands, our care becomes God’s care. Being God’s people, and living out of God’s love is a source of joy in the midst of the pain of the world. It just feels good to love people and do wonderful things for them. When we remember that we are baptized into God’s family, we re-member our community, living a life of hope here together. We strengthen each other in our trials and sorrows, and help young families raise their children to know God’s love. We hold each other in love in spite of our differences and disagreements.
My challenge to you today is to remember. You have been loved into resurrection with Jesus to be part of God’s re-membering of your life and the world you live in. May the grace of God to you be the re-membering of your world this Easter. Amen.