Easter sunday

I got called up to "big church" on Easter Sunday. Normally spend many Sundays being silly in front of 250 kids.

But I got called up from the minors on Easter – the worship pastor just said "to write something to kick off the Easter Service."

So I did.

I was really intrigued by the difference between Easter 2009 and Easter 1.

So this is what I did…

Easter in the year 2009 is a time of celebration, rejoicing,
of incomparable hope.

It is interesting to me that our Easter today is so
different from the first Easter Sunday. Scripture tells us that the first Easter
Sunday began not with cries of celebration but more likely cries of
desperation. See the first Easter started with a handful of women gathering at
dawn to take short walk to the tomb where not much more than 36 hours before
they had seen Jesus, their King Jesus, laid to rest.

So on this dark, chilly morning the women gathered up the
baskets of spices and perfumes they had prepared on Friday evening and quietly
headed out to do the task they dreaded, anointing the dead body of the one they
had thought would save them.

I imagine that the conversation they had was so much
different than the conversations or greetings we had this morning. Instead of
the general buzz and exicitement we had about life and hope and joy, they
probably walked along quietly, their feet scuffing the hard dirt of the path to
the rocky hillside where the tomb of Jesus was.

No “what a great day this is.”

No “what a beautiful dress she has on.”

No…it was probably just some muffled tears and whimpers of
“what happened” and “what’s next.”

The women trudged through the pre-dawn darkness,
arriving  with the rising sun at the tomb
of the fallen king, their bags filled with spices, their hearts filled with
despair.

We all know the story. Just when the women think it could get
no worse, it does. The stone at the opening 
to the tomb was pushed aside and when they peeked inside…no Jesus. No
body to anoint. No friend to lay to rest.

Nothing.

Nothing.

There was nothing except a handful of clothes.

And an angel.

Telling them “He is not here. He is risen.”

I can almost see them standing there, incredulous, amazed,
thinking “what…are you sure…we were here on Friday and…could it really
be….don’t you remember, He told us, it would happen this way…but…”

And the angel told them to “Go…tell the others.”

Then take a final glance at the empty grave clothes and run
down the hillside to tell the others what they had seen.

“He is risen.”

“He is alive.”

And this is where the story of the first Easter becomes like
Easter today. Because in the blink of any eye despair turns to dancing, grief
becomes hope, death is conquered by life, and joy…oh joy…joy surprises
everyone…and because of the empty tomb…and because of the love of God…and
because of the jpy of Easter morning, we can say forever and ever and ever…

“He is risen.”

“He is alive.”

“He is risen.”

“He is alive.”

(intro into
song…)

 

 

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Posted on April 19, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Jeff,
    You really allowed God to use you to start Easter 09 out the right way. I am glad you agreed to come back up to ‘big church’
    Let’s begin thinking of other ways to use your creativity in ‘big church’ services.
    Michael
    http://michaelhsmith.typepad.com

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