Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter


April 16, 2017

Matthew 28.1-10


+ Now, some people are Christmas people. They live for Christmas. That’s it for them.   For them, that’s the real magical time.

But for me, I gotta admit, it’s all about Easter.  This is what it is all about. There is nothing, in my opinion,  like gathering together here on this glorious morning, in all of this Easter glory. I just love Easter! I love everything about it.

The light.

The joy we are feeling this morning.

That sense of renewal, after a long, hard winter.

An Easter morning like this reminds me that there is more to this world than we thought. There is a glory that we sometimes catch a glimpse of.  There is an eternity, and it is good.

There’s an old saying, “Eternal life doesn’t start when we die, it starts now.”

I love that. Resurrection is a kind reality that we, as Christians, are called to live into.  And it’s not just something we believe happens after we die.  We are called to live into that Resurrection NOW.  Jesus calls us to live into that joy and that beautiful life NOW.

The alleluias we sing this morning are not for some beautiful moment after we have breathed our last.  Those alleluias are for now, as well as for later.  Those alleluias, those joyful sounds we make, this Light we celebrate, is a Light that shines now—in this moment.

We are alive in Christ now.  Our lives should be joyful because of this fact—this reality—that Jesus died and is risen and by doing so has destroyed our deaths. This is what it means to be a Christian. Easter is about the fact that we are alive right now.  

It is also about living in another dimension that, to our rational minds, makes no sense.  Even, sometimes, with us, it doesn’t make sense.  It almost seems too good to be true.  Easter almost seems too good to be true.  And that’s all right to have that kind of doubt.

It doesn’t make sense that we celebrating an event that seems so wonderful that it couldn’t possibly be true.  It doesn’t make sense that this event that seems so super-human can bring such joy in our lives.

Today we are commemorating the fact that Jesus, who was tortured, was murdered, was buried in a tomb and is now…alive.  Fully and completely alive.  Alive in a real body.  Alive in a body that only a day before was lying, broken and dead, in a tomb.

And…as if that wasn’t enough, we are also celebrating the fact that we truly believe we too are experiencing this too.  Experiencing this—in the present tense. It is happening for us too.

We are already living, by our very lives, by our faith in Jesus, into the eternal, unending, glorious life that Jesus lives in this moment.  

Our bodies MAY be broken.  It may seem that all the bad things of life may defeat us at times.   But we will live because Jesus lives. What we are celebrating this morning is reality.  What we are celebrating this morning is that this resurrected life which we are witnessing in Jesus is really the only reality.  And all those bad things that happen are really only illusions.

We aren’t deceiving ourselves.  We’re not a naïve people who think everything is just peachy keen and wonderful. We know what darkness is.  We know what suffering and pain are.   For those of us who have losses in our lives, we know the depths of pain and despair we can all go to in our lives.

But, what Easter is all about is realizing that all of that is only temporary.  It is the Light of Christ, that has come to us, this glorious morning, much as the Sun breaks into the darkness, is what lasts forever.  

What Easter reminds us, again and again, is that darkness is not eternal.  It will not ultimately win out. Light will always win.  This Light will always succeed. This Light will be eternal. Easter shows us very clearly that God really does love us. Each of us. No matter who we are.

God really does love us. Because, look! Look what God does for us. The bad things don’t last. But the good things do last. Forever. That is the best gift we could receive from a God who truly does love us.

I wish I could always feel this joy that I feel this morning.  But the fact is, this Light will lose its luster faster than I even want to admit.  This joy will fade too.

But I do believe that whatever heaven is—and none of us knows for certain what it will be like—I have no doubt that it is very similar this the joy we feel this morning.  I believe with all that is in me that it is very much like the experience of this Light that we are celebrating this morning—an unending Easter.  And if that is what Heaven is, then it is a joy that will not die, and it is a Light that will not fade and grow dim. And if that’s all I know of heaven, then that is enough for me.

The fact is, Easter doesn’t end when the sun sets today Easter is what we carry within us as Christians ALL the time. Easter is living out the Resurrection by our very presence.  We are, each of us, carrying within us the Light of Christ we celebrate this morning and always.  All the time.  It is here, in our very souls, in our very bodies, in our very selves.

With that Light burning within us, being reflected in what we do and say, in the love we show to God and to each other, what more can we say on this glorious, glorious morning?  What more can we say when God’s glorious, all-loving, resurrected realty breaks through to us in glorious light and transforms us;

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!



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