Thinking Towards Easter – Lectionary Year C

Easter Sunday Readings are:

Acts 10:34-43  /  Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 or UMH 839 /  1 Cor 15:19-26  /  Luke 24:1-12

 

Today’s Gospel reading begins by stating something that was obvious to the disciples and followers of Jesus: their leader was dead and the people who followed him assumed that he will remain dead. That is why "the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb" (Luke 24:1 NIV). The women came to the tomb where Lord’s body was placed on Friday, because they saw [observed, witnessed, experienced] Jesus’ body being left there. They brought the spices in order to anoint Lord’s body and to express what he meant to them while he was alive.

 

 

In our mind’s eye, we think that when the empty tomb was discovered, the mourning turned to joy instantly. The truth is that the Gospels simply do not support that view. The discovery of the empty tomb brought with it confusion, because conventional wisdom teaches us that dead persons remain dead. The conventional wisdom teaches us that the only thing we can do with the body of the deceased is to treat it with respect and to bury it according to the customs of the time and place where we live.

 

That is when angels wearing bright clothes appeared. As enticing as it may be to concentrate on angels, the story is not about them. Frightened women were asked, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!" (Luke 24:5). That question runs counter to the conventional wisdom; that question challenged the reality of everything that they knew.

 

Words of these angels bring OUR Easter experience uncomfortably close, because this is precisely what we have — the word of resurrection that challenges our conventional wisdom, it flies in the face of what we know to be right and true.

 

When we don’t know how to process information that is presented to us, when we don’t know what or how we should change, we continue doing what we have always done (application of the First Newton’s Law of Motion to our daily lives). When the women brought the message of resurrection to the other followers of Jesus, their response was disbelief.

 

NIV Luke 24:11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. (NIV, emphasis added)

 

Easter challenges our certainties; Easter challenges what we believe. Easter teaches us that although some things may seem like nonsense to us at the time, when we follow God’s lead they will result in something wonderful. Easter teaches us that although the death is real, it is not final. Jesus brings us the new life amidst death.

As we gather for worship on Easter Morning we follow in the footsteps of Peter (Luke 24:11) who dropped everything and took off to see the empty tomb for himself. We come because we have heard that Jesus is alive and that the tomb is empty and we long to hear the Good News again.

Today’s reading stops with Peter’s amazement, but the story of Easter continued in the last 2000 years, continues in our lives today and will continue in the future to the end of times.

The story of Easter continues because God continues to challenge the certainty of death with the promise of life; certainty of our earthly death with the promise of our eternal life. In Jesus, God gave us the gift of abundant life in the present and eternal life in the future.

 

NIV Luke 24:5 … "Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! …"

Just like Jesus called Lazarus to come out of his tomb, the Risen Christ calls each of us to come to shed our restraints and to live abundant lives in Him. When we shed these restraints, when we leave behind things that enslave us, when we discover the freedom that Jesus’ Resurrection brings, our frustrations turn to joy and service to God and our neighbors. As we grow in our love of God and in our service to God, our identity becomes that of a child of God, known by Jesus who died and rose from the dead because God so loved the world.

Have you seen the Resurrection and the Risen Lord this Easter?

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