Sermon for April 20,
2014 ~ Resurrection of Our Lord
is risen! He is risen indeed!
words have been repeated for many centuries. This morning as bells peal and
trumpets sound, the faithful gather and have been able to announce … He
is risen indeed! It rings across the world. Where?! Where?!
Some might cry out I want to see him! The women at the tomb
were told by the angel – Get going to Galilee! You'll see him there!
famous songwriter, Gene MacLellan, wrote lyrics about this. Maybe you remember
them: Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water, put your
hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea, take a look at yourself and you
can look at others differently, put your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee.
Gene spent the last years of his life as a prison volunteer. That's a strange
place to find Galilee.
message today is: Jesus has been raised. Where is he? Why he's in Galilee
of course. Let's see if we can find Galilee…
has been raised…
dawn on Sunday morning, two women went to the tomb. I guess the men stayed in
bed. You know as well as I do that when you are discouraged, or depressed –
either you can't sleep at all or all you want to do is sleep. The women went
to sit on the bench in the cemetery… and the men pulled blankets over their
tomb was still and silent. It was like your special places – a garden, a
forest walk, a beach, an altar rail, a graveside … where you remember, where
you wish you could turn back the clock, where you wish things were different. Our
own Memorial Garden can cause us to pause, to remember and reflect. Maybe
the women hoped that some of the things that Jesus said were true… or that they
would somehow "see" what he meant. They would try to keep Jesus "alive" in memory.
Like all of us who grieve a loss, memories of their loved one flooded them.
is, until the crack of dawn. The earth quakes and an angel steps into the
story with a message. This is no ordinary morning. An incredible message is delivered
and has been repeated ever since…
stationed to guard the tomb fainted. The grieving women were shocked into
joy. Don't be afraid, the angel says – you are going to see the
Lord! They came to a place of death – but that is not where they find
Jesus. He visited but doesn't live there. He is risen… means that he
went through death for us and lives. Death does not have the last word.
Christ is risen: a sneak preview of things to come.
still how it works: A messenger comes with a message of Good News. That's what
I get to do this morning! Just when we think we have got life figured out, or
we have resigned ourselves to the way it is – along comes someone talking about
God, faith, or believing. The disciples may have already surrendered to what
brutality, politics, and death can do. But this message says that Christ is
not contained or captured by anything – not a grave, not a place, not how we
think, not even whether we believe or not. This stirring message challenges us
to get up, get moving and get going to Galilee. That's where we will
some effort will be needed to see him. We have to move. We have to get out of
the cemetery and drag ourselves out of bed. If we want to see the risen Christ
– we have to find Galilee. Disciples have been there before, that's for
women are told: Go back to Galilee – tell his "brothers"
that's where they'll see him. The women will be insistent: Come on!
Come on! Let`s go to Galilee. He`ll meet us there. We'll put our
hands in the hand of the man from Galilee! As the two Mary's head
off to get the men, running like 5 year olds down a grassy hill at full speed, Jesus
appeared to them himself. Maybe Galilee is more than a place – maybe it
is a state of the heart.
begins his story in Galilee where Mary was found to be with child. Galilee
was the where the ministry of Jesus began... on roads and beaches, in towns and
homes. It was where he called disciples, taught the crowds, healed the sick,
showed compassion, offered rest, spoke in parables, fed multitudes, blessed
children, challenged attitudes, and taught love. They'll see me in Galilee,
the angel said. Do they want to see Jesus? They have to find Galilee
again. Do we want to see Jesus? Let's find it too: where healing, feeding,
teaching and even suffering take place.
will take some effort to see the one who loves us. I may need to let someone
serve me… and then I`ll see him. When there is welcome for all... we'll see
him. Feed the hungry, help the hurting, seek the lonely, pick people up from
the ditch, be a friend to the friendless… and we'll see the Risen Jesus…
because then we are in Galilee. That's where we see him. I see him in
you every week.
can be hard. We struggle with weakness and war and endless headlines of
trouble and starvation and environmental issues. We may be tempted to just
stay in a quiet place and wish it were not so, or pull the covers over our
heads. But death and discouragement is not the end. The story is charged with
life that Jesus meets us in acts of going, doing, living, acting, loving and
serving. We find life by losing it for others. We gain by giving. Where two
or three are gathered in his name… that's Galilee.
see him here today – that's what Aaron's baptism was about. Christ is present
in promise, with water, with bread and wine, and among us! The Risen Christ
appears in the living and loving and serving of his people. And one day,
somehow, somewhere, he'll take our hand and we'll see his face. That is what
Gene MacLellan discovered.
He is risen! He is risen indeed!