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A Different Easter

12 Apr

Alleluia! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

This is our proclamation of the Resurrection on Easter morning!
And yet, this Easter is different.

  • We postponed the Community Easter Egg Hunt.
  • We postponed the Congregational Breakfast.
  • We are not gathered together within the church building adorning our Sunday best, including Easter dresses and suits, for an elaborate worship experience adorned in lilies and tulips.

Perhaps, you are in comfortable jammies, drinking coffee, and listening along.
I hope you are.

And yet, THIS might be the most authentic Resurrection morning of our lifetime.

As read on Facebook:
“Maybe, for once, we celebrate Easter differently. Maybe, we celebrate the Resurrection just as the Disciples did: Alone, in the silence, hoping the faith outweighs the fear.” (Casey Kerins).

After the arrest, passion, and crucifixion of Jesus the Christ, the disciples are frightened.

We are frightened not of the religious authorities and Roman military, but of the COVID 19 pandemic.

  • Perhaps, you are frightened about the possibility of a loved one or you suffering, maybe dying, alone.
  • Perhaps, you are frightened about the safety of essential workers, from grocery store to restaurant employees, from trash collectors to the postal service, from farmers to truck drivers, from first responders to medical professionals, and from the lab techs to the scientists.
  • Perhaps, you are frightened about its current and continuing effect on our local, state, national, and global economy, including but not limited to the significant loss of employment.

After the arrest, passion, and crucifixion of Jesus the Christ, the disciples are hidden, bunkered down behind locked doors among themselves in a dark room.

We are hidden, bunkered down behind locked doors among only those of our own households, whether we are in the dark or not.

(If not bunkered down, you should adhere to social isolating recommendations).

  • Perhaps, this isolation is a welcomed rest.
  • Perhaps, this isolation is challenging your emotional, mental, social, spiritual and/or physical wellbeing.
  • Perhaps, this isolation is inciting your anxiety and fear.

Despite the fright, Mary Magdalene unlocked the door of that dark room, which I envision was a tomb of its own. She steps out if its perceived safety into the unknown in the wee hours. She walks to Jesus’ tomb preparing to anoint the deceased, lifeless body of her Rabbi (teacher) and friend per custom.

Suddenly, there is an earthquake.

An angel descends from heaven, rolls the stone securing the tomb away, and sits on it waiting for Mary. The angel will proclaim:
Alleluia! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Meanwhile the guards, who had been posted by the religious authorities, were terrified and shaking like chihuahuas became unable to respond. Instead of fight or flight, the guards choose to freeze.

Mary arrives and is alarmed, but the angel tells her to not be afraid. She is told to proclaim the Risen Christ to the disciples, who are still frightened, hidden, and locked away in that dark room.

Mary hurries in joy AND fear, confident that the disciples will not believe it.

And then, Mary encounters the Risen Christ. Despite the previous dramatics, Jesus does not boldly proclaim his resurrection and righteousness, his power and authority, but instead the mere experience of his presence proclaims it.

Jesus sends Mary in joy alone to proclaim:
“Alleluia! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia”
to those frightened disciples.

The angel and Risen Christ proclaim in word and deed that the tomb, including those of our lives, and death is of little authority and significance, for death does not have the final word and neither does COVID 19.

Our Risen Lord conquered death and raised us into new life with and through himself. We, as a congregation, a local community, nation, and global community will experience new life after the tombs of COVID 19, but may our lives, communities, nations, and the globe be raised more fully into the life that God always intended in the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom of peace, justice, and love.

May we, like Mary, be sent forth in joy alone to boldly proclaim:
Alleluia! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Although it is appropriate, perhaps our bold proclamation should further mirror that of the Risen Christ. Perhaps, our presence of peace, justice, and love, our faith and hope among fear, should speak louder in deed than word until it becomes our ‘new’ normal.

May our proclamations of the Risen Christ in word and deed
be peace, justice, love, hope, and faith.
Amen.

 

Scripture used with “God’s Wonderful Surprise” in The Jesus Storybook Bible.
Originally preached on 12  April 2020 for Trinity Lutheran (Union City, IN).

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2020 in Sermons

 

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