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Now What?: an Easter Sermon

12 Apr

Welcome!

It has been a CRAZY week within the life of the church.

Palm/Passion Sunday, we came to worship and join in the triumphant celebration of this Rabbi (teacher). We were excited and hopeful that Jesus would take the throne of David, would reign over the people of God uniting the Southern and Northern Kingdoms as the Messiah of God.

On (Maundy) Thursday, Jesus is acting strange and not quite as upbeat giving his disciples commandments for how to live together with one another in this world WITHOUT him. Primarily the commandment to love one another, not as we love ourselves because there are loopholes within that, BUT as God through Christ first loved us.

On (Good) Friday, Jesus was arrested, beaten, and hung on a cross. This was the most shameful and disgraceful death in the Roman Empire.

On Holy (or Black) Saturday, we think of the disciples hidden away in an upper room scared, fearful, and anxious about that would happen next.

This morning, the women were doing their ordinary responsibilities and duties for that time and place which was preparing the oils and minerals to anoint the dead body of Jesus (the Christ). And yet, the unexpected happened.

When these women fulfilling their ordinary responsibilities arrived at the tomb, they are met by a man dressed in a white robe. Often we speak of him as an angel, who is at the tomb with THE great proclamation of our Christian faith:
He is Risen! [Response: He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia].

Ok, we can do better.

He is Risen! [Response: He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia].

It is our proclamation. This is the moment of triumphant in our Christian faith.
This is the moment when God in human flesh as Christ proved that God defeated death, which is the one thing we (humans) do not think we can defeat.

However, Mark’s gospel is different from the rest.
Matthew, Luke, and John have these women excitedly running to tell the male disciples the good news, thus becoming the first preachers to proclaim the Word (the gospel) of the Christian Church.

BUT, Mark has these women seized by terror and amazement telling no one.
They told no one!

This leaves us in an interesting spot with Christ risen and no one has proclaimed the Word, but according to the other gospel accounts Jesus eventually visits the other hidden disciples (including the 12) appearing in their darkened upper-room. Jesus says “peace be with you” and “Oh, I know what you are thinking and no I am not a ghost”.

Note: We will have the ‘ghost’ scripture in two weeks on April 15, 2018.

We are entering into the Easter SEASON because it is not simple one day. Easter is seven Sundays (or a week of weeks), which throughout it we hear the post-Resurrection stories of Jesus the Christ. This includes Jesus often basically saying:

  • “Oh, it really is me.”
  • “You are not imagining it.”
  • “I am not a ghost.”
  • “Come! Touch my hand, put your hand into the mark where the nails once were.”
  • “I am real.”

Jesus also tells us:
“Listen, because I am not going to be around forever. I have done amazing things, such as I came back from the dead, but you will do greater things than me.”

You will do greater things…
because Lent was the journey that led us to the cross (with Christ), then the tomb, and now to the Resurrection. It was meant to turn your attention inwards in order to reflect on where/how we were divided from God and neighbor due to sin.

Easter, however, says “YOU have spent enough time in that dark room (or tomb).”
It says “YOU have spent enough time looking at the sin within yourself and your life.”
It says “YOU have done enough to be reconciled with God and neighbor.”

So, the next steps are to:

  • Leave that darkened room you find secure;
  • Go out and proclaim the Word;
  • Go forth in your fear and anxiety of the unknown;
  • Live out your baptismal promises/vocations, not in your words alone but in our lives and our deeds/actions;
  • Go forth to seek justice for ALL people;
  • Go forth to act with compassion and mercy; and
  • Go forth to serve one another in love.

BUT, we like those dark rooms because they give us a sense of security. We can control variables and have an idea of what will happen next.

The Resurrection, however, says to leave those fears behind because…
It is working in your life, our community, and our world to take those ‘things’ that have put us in the dark room and the grave/tomb and doing the unexpected with it.

Like Christ, we are raised out of that grave.
Like Christ, we are raised into new life trusting that God is ever-present.

God is not only ever-present but ever-active working in unexpected ways in both the small miracles of our lives as well as those BIG miracles.

These themes are not simply what Resurrection (or Easter) Sunday is about, but the whole of the Easter season.

Therefore, let us get out of those dark rooms and graves/tombs to carry forth the mission that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome were called.

Let us not go forth not seized by fear and amazement to be silent, but to proclaim the Word in EVERYTHING that we do because (are you all ready?):

He is Risen! [Response: He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!] Amen.

 

Scriptures were Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Acts 10:34-43; and  Mark 16:1-8.
Sermon was originally preached April 1, 2018 at Trinity Lutheran Church (Union City, IN).
 
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Posted by on April 12, 2018 in Sermons

 

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