Lectionary Text for Easter Day:
Psalm 118: 1-2, 19-29:
“O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let Israel say,
‘His steadfast love endures forever.’
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the LORD.
20 This is the gate of the LORD;
the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the LORD’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save us, we beseech you, O LORD!
O LORD, we beseech you, give us success!
26Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD.
We bless you from the house of the LORD.
27 The LORD is God,
and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
up to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.
29 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.”
Luke 24:1-12: “But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4 While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5 The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. 6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’ 8 Then they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.”
COMMENT: I received my primary education in the Catholic School System. Once in a religion class the teacher asked, “Which event in the life of Christ was the most important?” There was silence for quite a while and then she added, “I will give extra credit to the one who answers correctly. I’m not sure where the inspiration came from, but I raised my hand and said something to this effect, “It was the resurrection. I added, “To be born is not so unusual, but to be raised from the dead that is a miracle!”
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead, which we celebrate on Easter Sunday is the corner stone of the Christian faith. As much and we marvel as God coming into the world as a child, birth is a natural part of life and living. Resurrection from the dead, I think can be described as if the world suddenly stopped turning in its normal way, which is spinning counter clockwise on its axis, then pausing for a second and then begin to spin clockwise.
As I was writing that last sentence I thought perhaps this image is not too far off the mark. In Genesis 3: 22-24 we read one of the devastating consequences of the disobedient act of our first parents, Adam and Eve. Scripture records, “And the LORD God said, "The man…must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever…So after he (the LORD) drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” It seems God’s original intent, for the ‘crown of his creation’ you and I and all human beings was for us to live eternally. So, out of a love we will never fully understand, God used resurrection to redirect, even transform what we think is the natural order of life and the world, which is to die. This makes the angel’s message to the women who came to perform the ritual for the dead so wonderful: ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? Luke 24
I read in a book that the church is now living in the “Easter Age.” This is the time-frame between Jesus’ resurrection and his second coming. What should a Christian expect to experience during the “Easter Age?” Aside from the fact that there is not enough paper to write all that God plans for us, think on this promise recorded in John 11:25-27, “Jesus said, to her (Martha) "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Jesus is risen!
“O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!”
©March 28, 2010
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