Sunday, March 27, 2016
Christ is Risen... He is risen indeed!
On Easter Sunday the church tells the story of the empty tomb and the charge by the messenger to “go and tell.” For the next several weeks Christians tell and retell stories of Jesus’ first followers who encountered Him against all hope. Amidst their doubt, fear, and longing, suddenly He was present -risen from the dead, and encountering them in a locked room, by the lakeshore, on the road to Emmaus.
Jesus said: "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised" (Matthew 20:18-19).
Yet the witnesses at Jesus' tomb were surprised. The Gospel of Mark tells us that "terror and amazement" seized them. They were so afraid they said nothing to anyone - at first. But when they began sharing the good news of God's love for both Jews and gentiles, the Holy Spirit moved among them (Acts 10).
We need that good news, and so does our world. Economic turbulence, warfare and injustices run rampant today. We live in "catastrophic, catatonic, catalytic" times. Our world yearns for new movement. Evil, though not always acknowledged, is among us. But the Easter story reminds us how Jesus embodied God's redeeming love for all.
Like those first witnesses at Jesus' grave, how often are we afraid, unwilling or not invited to share our stories? Created in God's image, we each have a piece of God's story. As we welcome each other into this unfolding story, we empower each other. Storytelling, at its core, is an act of hospitality. And we have an amazing story to tell: Jesus no longer lives among us but within us.
We continue sharing today. "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it," says Psalm 118:24.
And what a reason for gladness and joy: The Lord is risen! Now let us share this good news with the world.
I AM - BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED ME! ~ Stafford