March 27, 2016 – Easter

Christ is Risen

He is Risen indeed!

EasterlilyAll through Lent we have discussed what God is offering us.  The list is long, love, grace, reconciliation, relationship, now its time to think on what we might offer God.  Does God need anything from us on this Easter morning?

What could we offer?  Well in the world God takes a back seat to Chocolate bunnies, Easter baskets, and most importantly devilled eggs!  We have just celebrated with all those things.  And it is good!  We are Easter people and celebrating is good. Yet how might God be a part of this celebration?  That might seem like a very strange question but I would like for us to consider how God has been and will always be working in the world.  Today we are joyous that God’s work through his Son has resulted in the resurrection and the promise of eternal life.  However sometimes we get so involved with the detail of this Easter story that we loose sight of the greatness of our God.

Each Gospel tells the Easter story a bit differently.  They differ in the times of day, who goes to the tomb, who they see at the tomb and all the various reactions.  John is the Gospel most used to tell the story and what a story it is.  Mary Magdalene goes alone to the tomb before dawn and sees that stone is rolled away.  She runs to Simon Peter and the other disciple and tells them that she is worried that Jesus has been removed from the tomb.  Where is his body?  The two disciples run to the tomb (there is some competition about getting there first.) They go into the tomb and see the burial linens but no body.  One disciple believes, and yet it’s not certain what he believes as the scripture actually tell us these followers of Jesus did not understand that Jesus was to rise from the dead.  No body, no Jesus they returned home.  Mary stays and weeps.  Someone asks her why she is crying and she replies that the body of her Lord is missing.  She assumes the person she is speaking to is the gardener.  Jesus calls her by name and she recognizes him.  Jesus tells her he has yet to ascend to his Father and asks her to go and tell the disciples that he is about be joined with God.  She goes to the disciples and tells them what has happened.

This is a story that we know really well, we also know that Jesus will soon appear to the disciples several times.  This is the story that we have all been waiting for, the resurrection the proof that Jesus is the Son of God. Its about belief, its about resurrection its about eternal life.  It’s all about us!

It is the powerful story of Easter, the knowledge that our faith in Jesus’ resurrection will empower us in our lifetime and assure for us eternal life with God.  But how did this all happen, and who is it that we are truly indebted to, of course that is our God.  Today I would like for focus on that!  I want us to realize that the work of God has been going on since the first day of creation, to the present.  In that vast an wondrous time God has been working with God’s people, through Abraham, Moses, Sarah, Mary, Joseph, John the Baptist and the disciples to name a few.  God has included the other side as well, Pharaoh, Herod, Pontius Pilate, Judas.  This cast of characters only brings up to the 1st century. Now think of all those since that time, the thousands of spiritual, church, and religious leaders.  The saints the martyrs, the revolutionary teachers.  God work in Gods people.  Gives a moment of pause doesn’t it.  This is Gods work, let us praise God.

So if we examine the other scripture for today we see this columniation of praise.  Psalm 118 is filled with a sense of joy that is grounded in gratitude.  It is a song of deliverance with a central theme that is both ancient and much needed toady.   Most simply put, one of the messages of this text and this day is that no matter what challenges, privations, and sufferings we may know, we are nonetheless upheld by the loving mystery we know as God.   The author of the psalm wants us to know that God continues to have great things in store for us.

Today we are confronted with the good news that Christ is risen indeed.  The psalm demonstrates that our first and most important response is to thank and praise God for the gift of new life.  Most importantly we must understand that Easter is the beginning of this new life and cannot be put away with the Easter decorations and the wrappers from our chocolate bunnies.

This is the day that the Lord has made, what a day this is.  This is the day on which God did not give Jesus and us over to death. This is the day on which God opens Christ’s tomb, the day on which God opens to us the gate of righteousness and we enter through it.  This great news is the core of the Easter message.

The psalmist encourages us to praise God for our salvation.  With thanksgiving the church joins Israel in saying “God’s steadfast love endures forever.”

We celebrate more than just Christ’s resurrection over physical death.  Christ’s resurrection is God’s victory over all the powers of death at work, in our lives and the life of the world.  We celebrate Christ’s resurrection in the context of God’s ongoing work of salvation, not the end point.

I believe that God wants us to be surprised by Easter again.  We all know that we will go to the tomb, the stone will be rolled away and Jesus’ body will be gone.  But what we have to remember is that God’s work is eternal, through creation, through the saints of the past, through Jesus and through us today!

Christ is risen

He is risen indeed!

Lets make it about God today

Thanking God for everything we experience, choc bunnies, love of family

Seeing God is all creation, yes even the wind and when you figure that out let me know?

Experience God’s love even in the difficult places.

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