Earth Shaking News

Dear friends in Christ, grace and peace. AmenA presidential tweet.A congresswoman’s comments.A cathedral burning.A tiger’s redemption.Outrageous – inflammatory – earthshaking – for the ages.

7:00, 8:30, 9:45 & 11:00 Traditional Worship

Matthew 28:1-10

Dear friends in Christ, grace and peace. Amen

A presidential tweet.

A congresswoman’s comments.

A cathedral burning.

A tiger’s redemption.

Outrageous – inflammatory – earthshaking – for the ages.

We have run out of words to describe the things that happen in our world and the commentary is instantaneous. It streams to our ears and our minds and the words are meant to elicit immediate responses so the masses will react. And react is exactly what we do.

I don’t know about you but I’ve become somewhat numb to the commentary. If everything that is said or done is a 10 on the Richter scale then what is left to say. The words have lost their meaning and their power to move me is gone.

That is until something actually happens in life that is earthshaking – something that directly affects your life – something that fundamentally changes you and the world you live in.

Something for which there might not be any words to describe what has happened to you and how you feel.

I can’t help but wonder if Mary Magdalene and the other Mary who went to the tomb early in the morning on the first day of the week felt this way.

The man they loved, followed, provided for was dead. The man they had placed all of their hopes on was devoured by the political and religious powers of the day and hung up on a tree to die a slow painful death.

And they witnessed it. The whole thing. Every agonizing minute. It was earthshaking for them.

It was the death of their beloved Jesus and it shook the foundations of their hearts because they had witnessed his power to love, to heal, to give hope to the hopeless. They saw it with their own eyes it and experienced it for themselves. He was their teacher, their lord, their master.

So after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.

This might be one of the most important verses in the whole bible.

When you go to a tomb, what do you expect to see? You expect confirmation of what has happened. You expect nothing to change. You know that death is the final word.

Death feels like the end for us because it is. It is the end of a relationship. It is the end of a marriage. It is the end of a career, a friendship. It is the end of any number of things.

We all know what his feels like and we are living this reality right now in our lives on many different levels. None of us is immune to this truth.

The courage of the two Mary’s to go to the tomb is earthshaking.

Perhaps this is why Matthew includes an earthquake in his Easter narrative.

And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 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 who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, 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.”

The ground literally shakes and in this moment all of life is changed. I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised from the dead.

This is God’s word to you and to me every time we stand at a tomb, any tomb. A tomb of our own making or a tomb made for us by outside circumstances.

What are you looking for as you stand at the tomb today?

Are you looking for a dramatic Easter, a ground breaking, heaven opening, angel descending light that ushers in the power of the resurrection in a way you could never imagine?

Is this the kind of Easter little Landon’s family is experiencing today as the news of his recovery from the evil act at the Mall of America gets better every day. Is it the power of the resurrection at work in the response of so many to Landon’s need?

Or are you looking for a less dramatic Easter. An Easter promise that has ever so slowly transformed the destruction and death in your life into something new, something hopeful, and something filled with new life.

One of the things I tell families as I help them prepare for a funeral is that they will feel differently after the funeral and the burial is over.

After their loved one has died,

  • after the initial shock and pain of what that feels like,
  • after the preparations to plan for a funeral and all the details and logistics involved,
  • after the visitation and after the service and
  • after the grave side, something happens, something changes in their hearts.

And it is earthshaking.

It is the power of the resurrection that literally transforms death into life.

You realize in those moments that God is at work

  • through the words of promise,
  • through the love and care of your church community,
  • through the power of the Holy Spirit to fill us with hope and strength in order to meet the days ahead without this person we loved in our lives anymore.

It was literally earthshaking news on that first Easter. It was dramatic because it was the first Easter.

Jesus said he would destroy death.

He said that death would no longer have power of over us.

He said he would die in order to make this promise and hope a reality.

And he did.

He hung on a cross.

He took the sin of the world upon himself. He died for you and me and because God raised him from the dead the power of the resurrection is at work in our lives.

  • For every tomb we visit,
  • for every death we face,
  • for every time we feel like there is no hope.
  • God sends an earthquake and rolls the stone away and we discover again that the tomb is empty.

Death has been defeated.

Jesus has been raised from the death.

For this hope and promise we say alleluia, thanks be to God. Amen

 

 

 

 

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