Tuesday, April 19, 2011

If God has raised Jesus from the dead...

Do not be afraid for I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.
He is not here. He has risen, just as he said. – Matthew 28.6

It has been said that where there is life there is always hope. I believe that the opposite of that is also just as true: where there is hope, there is life. And what does the world need more than anything else right know that a bit of hope. There have been triple disasters, wars, no fly zones, riots and protests, politicians whizzing around looking for people to vote for them, promising the moon and the stars if they get to hold the reins of power. All the while people are somewhat skeptical that anything is going to make life better. And if you think that’s all true then, consider this: if God really raised Jesus Christ from the dead, isn’t the rest of it all rock and roll?  

That is why in Matthew’s Gospel we are shown that those earlier believers were let into the tomb. They had to come and see for themselves that Jesus was not there. And that is where we need to be. With Mary and the other women who stood outside the tomb, trembling in fear and wondering what could possibly make life and matters worse. Like them we have to encounter the angels and be let into the tomb to realize that Jesus was not there. And in that meant hope became a real possibility for the world. The absence of a body does not by itself suggest that Jesus is alive, but it does give the rise to the question, “where did he go?” After all, dead men don’t walk trails… do they?

The women are invited into see the reality of the empty tomb that they had helped to shut up on Friday afternoon. They watched as the men rolled the great stone in its grove until there was a great thud and the stone was in place. The soldiers sent to watch the tomb has sealed the stone in wax and stamped it with the seal of the Emperor. Anyone breaking the seal would automatically be put to death. No wonder the soldiers fell down and played dead when the angel came and opened the tomb – who would have taken the blame for letting these women into the tomb, much less discovering that they had let the dead man out of his grave!

Jesus meets these same women on the road as they are going back to tell the apostles about what has happened and greets them. They know him and the fall down in worship at his feet. Then Jesus encourages the women “Go and tell the others go to Galilee and I will see you there.” There is hope and hope  brings us into the presence of God to worship. Because Christ is raised from the dead, we can live with him that new and risen life if we can choose to participate in his life. We in this Easter moment, are called to proclaim Jesus is Lord, he is risen from the dead and he is Lord. So let us take what you have learned in living your lent out loud and proclaim to those around you “Don’t be afraid. He is risen. Things are going to change.” The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of God and his Christ. The grave is overwhelmed and he calls us by name and we will rise. 

Happy Eastertide everyone!                                               Jason+, Nova, Joshua and Aaron

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