1030am Sunday 4-12-20
I meant I invite you wherever you are today to grab your bible. So whatever version of scripture you have today is totally fine. I'm using the new revised Standard Version, but whatever version of scripture you choose and speaks to you best. Please use that I invite you to open up in your scriptures to the gospel of Matthew the 28th chapter the very end of the story of the gospel of Christ the good news of Jesus Christ begin at verse 1. This is the gospel of Our Lord according to the gospel of Matthew the 28th chapter.
After the Sabbath as the first day of the week was donning Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. I'm suddenly there was a great earthquake for an angel of the Lord descending from Heaven came on hold back the stone and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing white as snow for fear of him the guards Shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women do not be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus was crucified. He is not here for he has been raised.
as he said come and see the place where he lay, then go quickly and tell his disciples. He has been raised from the dead. And indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee there. You will see him. This is my message for you. So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to tell his disciples suddenly. Jesus met them and said greetings. And they came to him took hold of his feet and worship him. Then Jesus said to them do not be afraid go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee there. They will see me. the gospel of Our Lord
I invite you to pray with me.
Change be broken lives be healed In This Moment Christ be revealed in the name of the father and the son and the holy spirit. Amen.
In this new normal that we are all living in one of the first tasks of every morning for me and probably many of us watching. Is to see the work that death has done since we last checked. In the last 24 hours, how many lives has death taken? What is the new death toll of this pandemic? What work has death done today? Spell checking in on the work of death was also the first thing that the disciples did on that very first Easter morning. But well these two Mary's went to the tomb expecting to find death and defeat instead. They found God's glory. The resurrection story in Matthew progresses quickly providing us little if any chance to brace ourselves for the coming change and transition and shock value of this powerful moment. And suddenly there was a great earthquake front Angela the Lord descending from Heaven came and roll back the stone and sat on it.
I love that this gospel writer Matthew make sure to note that not only did the angel move the stone that took several people to move it in place in the first place. but that Angel also sat on it Almost as if to punctuate God's Victory and Ale bear the feebleness of the world to stop God's redeeming work in Jesus Christ with an authoritative.
How You Like Me Now
The book of Isaiah for claims that the Earth is God's footstool. So if the Roman Emperor or Pontius Pilate or the religious leaders or any person had any Illusions, they could some Hinder Or or frustrate God's coming Kingdom and Rain well. I'll just sit right here.
The author continues with a barrage of of of of of literary jobs. The earthquake which shook the foundations of the Earth in the very Gates of Hell were followed by the appearance of the angel. Tikal and caused the guards to shake and become like dead men.
This image of soldiers especially professional and disciplined Roman soldiers becoming like dead men is in a sharp on confounding contrast to Jesus who was dead. And is now alive.
The resurrection literally flips the world and a head dizzying transformational wave where the men who had crucified and killed Jesus now stands lifeless in the presence of a truly living.
Rome is best and brightest are now comparable to dedman when confronted with the power of Christ's Resurrection.
Now where us the powerful and the profiteer is in the privileged in this story.
Become like dead men. the two women who are embodying in this story the littlest the least and the last inside of Roman society or acknowledged by the angel and they are giving comfort and they're giving encouragement do not be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. For he has been raced. The women were then instructed to go and tell the other disciples what they had seen on the message. They had received notice that enough you and every other gospel. the first preachers are women They were the first creatures on without their proclamation of Faith. There would be no shirt search. These newly commissioned preachers leave the tomb with fear and great joy.
To tell of what they had seen but before they could reach the other disciples Jesus again. suddenly appears to them echoing the Angels commission to go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee and there I will see them notice here that the title Jesus describes to his disciples. He calls them brothers early in their Ministry together Jesus and his disciples. He called them his disciples and they called him her booty teacher. It was a teacher pupil relationship a professional important one then at the Last Supper that relationship progresses and changes from pupil and teacher to friends it evolve. and now in the power of the Resurrection that relationship has once again transformed and they are now Brothers. The resurrection is fundamentally transform Humanity's relationship to God in Christ Jesus from Outkast and Rebels to siblings in Christ and heirs to the father's lavish love and immeasurable Grease. Play pop most of us have probably checked in on the news to see what work death has done recently. But today You & I we also join two women on their way to a tomb to see the work that death had done two thousand years ago in a land far from here and they are met not with death, but with news of great joy.
Church, we have become far more familiar with death recently. But today your church today, we here that we are not bound by I do not lead need to live in fear because of it. Because Christ has overcome the grave because Christ has and is risen.
for this good news We can enter into everyday with hope knowing there is one whose love and grace could not be kept buried for long and that because he lives we shall live also. As Brothers and Sisters in Christ. We are comforted and encouraged to not be afraid. and to live in face of the Resurrection but
we're still cautious. We're not foolish maybe even were still a little bit afraid. We are worshiping apart today because worshiping together is too dangerous. Most of the faithful around the world are celebrating the resurrection of Christ through our phone screen or computer or TV just like you and I are now. Many are hearing about the joy in the love of God while they're living in their homes, perhaps and isolation or struggling with depression or fear or uncertainty or how they're going to pay their bills. Does this mean that our faith is weak or that we are somehow feeble or failed disciples. No. I mean for human or in the company of the first disciples this year, perhaps more than any other year dear Church our worship seems far more. authentic Do that first Easter maybe this year we celebrate the resurrection in the same way as the first disciples did alone confused shaken hoping that Faith outweighs our fear. Today the church declares that faith is stronger than fear in this audacious and stubborn faith. We can see the resurrection Light breaking through the darkness. Even or perhaps especially now while we are restricting our physical interactions out of an abundance of love for our neighbor and heating God's call to not kill. We are also witnessing the power of God's Resurrection work Among Us not just deaths work. We can see the work death is doing but if we look deeper we can also see what resurrecting the resurrecting work. God is doing today and in every day to come. We may visit with death and we may spend some time at the grave. And all of its different configurations desperation. fear depression sadness isolation But like the first disciples on that very first Easter, the power of Christ Resurrection will not permit us to remain in that place for long. In the Plucky boldness of the spirit. We see people risking their lives to save and heal others, we watch doctors and nurses Hospital staff and First Responders.
React respond to the needs of their Community leaving the safety of their homes and their families to save lives. Some even volunteering to go to some of the hardest-hit areas around our country just to help. Christ is alive. Penny Arcade in The Audacity Of God's spirit. We see people helping one another we see small acts of kindness popping up through the burial dirt and out of the darkness because the human spirit and therefore God Spirit refuses to yield refuses to yield the desk command to give up and to stay buried. Christ is alive. And the rebuilt rebellious bravery of God Spirit wethepeople, hoping and then Having the courage to act upon that hope for the sake of the world here is Steven. We have faced these challenges in this time, but many have decided to Simply burn brighter in the midst and in spite of the darkness today. We've so nearly 850 masks to protect and save the lives of our healthcare workers. We raised over $8,000 to help feed those who lack the capacity and financial stability to feed themselves. Church Christ is alive and he is at work. Yes, we are watching the work which death is doing. But in the power of the Resurrection, we are also witnessing God's Resurrection at work Among Us digging us out of the great rolling away the stone I'm turning the world upside down.
It would be an authentic of me. Declare this without also saying that I too have struggled then this time I struggled with receiving phone calls and hearing them heartbreaking stories that so many of our congregants bring to the table. Bet that the Heartbreak of financial ruin the Heartbreak of of lost businesses and jobs the Heartbreak of a family struggling to keep it together that the sadness and depression that so many are facing today. And I would be I would be lying to you. If I said it did not hit me in my heart and my passion in my will also we've all heard the stories from a myriad of people from Marietta family and neighbors and colleagues and Friends. But today Church. Today we come to this point we come to this point of Gravitas in power. We come to the Grave seeking the one who is alive. We do not blind ourselves to the power of death, but we say to the power of death. You have no power here any longer for there is one who has overcome you there is one who has conquered the world and the grave on the death, which we all experienced through this process. And today we speak to that void to that empty tomb he is risen. We are invited today each and every one of us to be with those first disciples to be authentically scared and fearful at at the same time Joyful We are invited to hear and heed the call and command of Our Lord in approaching the grave turns us right around. Calls us back into the world that is still frightfully afraid. We are called to be cautious and wise in this time, but we are not called to be cautious. With our Spirits. We are called to be generous and gracious for the one who conquered death lives within each and every one of us. Church today, perhaps more than any other day in the life of the church, perhaps more than any other Easter apart from that first Easter. We are invited to be authentic and real to look death in the face to face those numbers and the work that it is doing and it's spite of it in our face and in our hope and in our determination and a resilient as an Easter people just still have the audacity to help and serve and love and try.
today Are homes made of felt like cartoons? But today were invited to turn them into our sanctuaries and from that powerful Place of Hope and peace to declare to the world. The Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Thank you Church.