Sunday’s Scripture ~ Matthew 28:1-10 and Acts 10:34-43
It seems like I have been waiting for Easter Sunday forever. Life as a pastor makes a person hyper aware to one’s proximity to certain holy days. It is always easier to prepare for Christmas Eve…I know when it will happen. But Easter…Easter is another holy day entirely.
The day we celebrate Easter shifts every year in accordance to the lunar cycle and to keep it near the celebration of Passover. Last year Easter was “early” – the last day of March. This year it is three Sundays into April…and I am ready to celebrate. I am anxious to shout a word that begins with “Alle” and ends with “luia” that I have kept from my vocabulary since the first Sunday of Lent, thereby participating in the early church tradition of not saying that word during the Season of Lent. That word is a proclamation that the Kingdom of Heaven is established on the earth and during Lent we earnestly pray and crave for the Kingdom’s coming.
On Easter we relish as we utter that word – the Kingdom is come and it is an eternal one, free from the bondage of sin and death because our Christ has defeated the grave. Our Christ is victorious. Our Christ leaves the grave, not so that he cannot be found and not so he can play his version of hide and seek. Jesus is not hiding, but he calls those who are faithful to him to seek him. And where will we find him? Why among the people, of course. His ministry is not done. He wants us to see that even in the present Kingdom ministry, service, sacrifice, care of neighbor, will of God must still be done.
We leave the tomb for it is empty. We meet Christ in the world and see what he is doing. And then we join him in it.
One of my favorite praise songs for Easter is Christ is Risen by Matt Maher. This particular video combines the lyrics and orchestration of Maher with the incredible spoken word talents of David Bowden. In his spoken word Bowden describes where Christ is present after the resurrection and the healing that Christ brings. My everlasting hope is that Christ will always be present in these places and that his presence will draw his faithful nearer.
What holy day follows Easter? Pentecost…the birth of the church…the day we celebrate the receipt of the Holy Spirit…the day the church collectively commits to carry forward the ministry, service, sacrifice, care of neighbor, and will of God because Christ has gone ahead of us into the Kingdom. We commit to these acts until he completes his Kingdom here.
Prayer: “Almighty God, through Jesus Christ you overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life. Grant that we, who celebrate the day of our Lord’s resurrection, may, by the renewing of your Spirit arise from the death of sin to the life of righteousness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”*
*”Easter Vigil or Day,” The United Methodist Hymnal, 320.