Sermon Easter Sunday

Welcome to our service today… Easter Sunday

Let us pray.. Merciful God, we don’t always recognize Christ,
even when we are looking directly at your love. We cling to our assumptions about how life on earth should unfold, forgetting that life in your realm shatters those expectations. Forgive us when we go through our daily routine, forgetting to look for the Risen One.
Forgive us when coming to worship
is sometimes something more than it is about encountering you
and our Resurrected Lord. Open our eyes and our hearts, O God,
to the full awareness of your presence with us, in each and every moment of our lives. We pray in the name of the Christ who is alive!
Alleluia and amen.

Scripture Readings for Today are John 20: 1-18 The Empty Tomb

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying. 11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out “Teacher”.17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Matthew 28:1-8 New International Version (NIV) Jesus Has Risen

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “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. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

 

Mark 16:1-8 New International Version (NIV) Jesus Has Risen

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

The Word of God.

Each church has their own tradition of worship settings for Easter Sunday. In many churches, bright flowers fill the worship center. Today there are just a few flowers and no people.. We need to remember that when our lives seem empty like the empty church and like the empty tomb, that  Christ is in our midst! Let us open our eyes to see the Living Christ here with us today!

How early it is! The sky is changing from deep darkness to the faded blue-gray of morning light. Now is her time to go to the tomb--in the dimness of early morning light, before the others awake--just to be there, near his tomb just one more time. And she runs to the place where he is buried, but the stone is rolled away. How can this be? This stone takes a number of strong workmen to put in place. It was guarded. But now no one is there and the stone is rolled away. The stone was gone, so Mary assumed that Christ had been taken away. She is frightened and runs back to tell Peter and the other disciples: “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Peter and John run to the tomb. John reached the tomb first and looked in, and he did not see the body in the tomb; Peter went into the tomb and said that the body definitely was not there. The tomb was empty,so Peter assumed that Christ had been taken away.He saw the linen wrappings lying there and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, but it wasn’t lying with the other linen wrappings; it was rolled up in a place by itself. John entered the tomb and was overwhelmed by the disappearance of Jesus. So they left the tomb and went back to their place of hiding.

But Mary stayed, stunned and fearful. As she wept, she bent over and looked in the tomb, and there she saw two angels in white, one at the place where Jesus’ head had lain, and other at the place where the feet had been. “Woman, why are you weeping?” they asked her. “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him,” she responded. She turned around and saw someone whom she supposed to be the gardener, the one who attends to the burial sites. She did not know it was Jesus. “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She was astonished at his words and through her tears implored him to tell him where the body had been taken. “Where has he been taken? If you tell me, I will go and take him away.” And then she heard it, the sound that would ring in her ears and in her heart for the rest of her life: “Mary!” he said her name. “Mary!” and in an instant, she knew who he was. “Teacher,” she cried and fell to her knees in front of him, seeking to embrace him. “Mary, do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” And with tears of joy, Mary ran from the place and went to the disciples, announcing, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. Alleluia! This is a day of new beginnings! This is the day of brightness and hope! For God has done wondrous things for us!  Let us Pray .. Merciful God, we confess that like the disciples of old, we ran and hid, in our hearts, from the terror and sadness of the crucifixion. We didn’t want to be there. We found ways of avoiding the scene and pretending that it was all a bad dream. But it wasn’t a dream. Jesus our Lord was crucified. That’s a fact. And we were numbed by the news. But now we have been given the most blessed gift of forgiveness; we have been given the gift of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. New Light has shined in our deep darkness. Restore us again to your presence. We ask this in the resurrected Jesus name. Amen