Good Morning. Now Go Home. – An Easter Sunday Sermon on Matthew 28:1-10

Easter Sunday – Matthew 28:1-10

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

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

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

“He is not here; for he has been raised,” the angel tells the women in today’s gospel (Matthew 28:1-10). Good for Jesus! But what about you? What about me? Have we been raised? Are we alive? And what about those we love? Have they been raised? Are they alive?

Resurrection of Jesus, Easter, Resurrection, Empty Tomb, Matthew 28:1-10, Myrrh Bearing Women

Image By Snežana Trifunović – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

I sometimes wonder if we have for so long so over-emphasized the uniqueness of Jesus’ resurrection that we have either forgotten or are unable to believe that there is only life. I wonder if we make such a big deal out of Easter Sunday that we are no longer able to see that everyday life holds the miracle of resurrection. I wonder if we miss the resurrected life that is ours because we are always looking and waiting for Jesus’ resurrection.

Let me be clear about this. I do not want to minimize or diminish the meaning and power of Jesus’ resurrected life. Instead, I want it to be more expansive and pervasive of all life, not just a one time event that is celebrated once every year.

So what if we tried something different? What if we did not say the usual Easter acclamation – “Alleluia. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.” – and instead, I said to you, “Good morning. Now go home and you’ll see Jesus?” What if that was my Easter message to you? “Good morning. Now go home and you’ll see Jesus.”

What would you think about that? Some of you might be relieved and welcome that kind of message but I am guessing many of you would not. It’s not what you expect to hear on Easter morning. It’s not what you’ve heard in the past and it’s probably not what you came wanting to hear today. So what would you do? Would you complain to the bishop? Get mad? Call a vestry meeting? Come see me on Monday? Or would you go home expecting to see Jesus?

Before we get too far down this road let me say that that idea – “Good morning. Now go home and you’ll see Jesus.” – is not original with me. I got it from Jesus in today’s gospel. “Greetings!” Jesus says to the women. “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” That’s it. He’s was tortured and executed, went to hell and back, and that’s all he says. It’s basically a repeat of what the angel had told the two women. It’s a pretty simple statement.

There’s just not a lot of drama in the resurrection for Jesus. Jesus does not make the empty tomb an “eggstravaganza.” He could have. But he didn’t. Jesus and his disciples are already in Jerusalem. They could have met there. What better place than the center of political and religious power? But they didn’t. He could have made a theatrical appearance before the Roman authorities and the religious leaders. But he didn’t. He could have called attention to himself. “Hey, look at me. I’m back. I told you so.” But he didn’t. Instead he offered greetings and then sent his disciples back to Galilee and said that they would see him there.

Galilee was their hometown. Jesus is sending them home. He is sending them back to what is known and familiar, to the ordinary and routine, to the rhythms of everyday life. That, he says, is where we’ll see him. Those are the places where his life intersects with and transforms our lives. They are described in the Bible stories we hear all the time.

  • This past Friday it was Jesus so completely identifying with us that he gets up on the cross with us, suffers with us, and dies with us. There’s something hopeful and life-giving in that. There’s something of resurrection in that.
  • On Thursday he gathered us around his table to eat and drink in remembrance. He fed us with his body and blood, and our lives were nourished. Resurrection
  • On Palm Sunday Jesus chose the will to life over the will to power. Resurrection.
  • What about the raising of Lazarus? Unbind him and let him go. When have you been unbound and freed? Resurrection.
  • The cleansing of the temple and reorienting life to God is about resurrection. When have you cleaned out and made a new start?
  • Jesus fed the 5000 in the midst of the wilderness. The disciples looked around and saw nothing. It was an empty place to them. When have you found nourishment in the desolate places of life? Who fed you? That’s resurrection.
  • Have you ever felt stuck, and without energy or direction in life? Remember the lame man and Jesus saying, “Stand up, take your mat and walk?” That’s resurrection.
  • Have you ever felt unwanted, unacceptable, unloved, or maybe even unloveable? Jesus ate with tax collectors, outcasts, and sinners. They and we have a place at his table. Resurrection.
  • Have you ever had new insights into your life, a new way of seeing the world, another person, or yourself? Every blind man whose eyes were opened by Jesus experienced new life, resurrection.
  • When was a time you felt at home, comfortable in your own skin, as if you had made it to the promised land after wandering in the wilderness? Yes, that’s resurrection too.
  • Recall a time you offered or received forgiveness, and you worked with another to rebuild trust. Resurrection.
  • When Israel was raised up from Egypt and freed from bondage that also was a resurrection. When have you been released from patterns and behaviors that impoverished and diminished your life?
  • Have you ever had a time when order came out of chaos or light from darkness and you felt re-created, renewed, and alive? Yes, that too is resurrection.

The stories of resurrection are as unique and particular as each of us here today. We’ll witness two of those stories in the baptisms of Harrison and George. They will be raised to new life. That’s about resurrection. Imagine the possibilities for them and glimpse in their faces the possibilities for you. We’ll take a vow to support those two little boys in their life in Christ and we’ll renew our own baptismal vows. More resurrection. After that we’ll gather around the table to eat and drink in remembrance. Our lives will be returned to us through the body and blood of Christ. And after church many, if not most, of you will gather around another table to eat and drink in remembrance. Your presence, conversation, laughter, and thanksgivings will nourish and enliven one another. It’s all resurrection. It’s all life.

So on this Easter Sunday let me ask you this. Where do you expect to see Jesus? Here in Uvalde? In your home? Among family and friends? In strangers, foreigners, and those who are different from you? In the midst of suffering and death? In the joys and celebrations of life? In times of insight and learning? In relationships? In silence and stillness? In the attempts to live a good life? In the failings to live a good life? In the pain and heartbreak of life? In the struggle to rebuild a relationship? In the refugee? In your marriage? In the challenges of parenting? In becoming the parent and caretaker of your own mother or father? In the midst of illness? Old age? In good conversation and laughter? In intimacy and vulnerability with another?

Yes. The answer is yes. Those and a thousand other places are where resurrection is. Don’t you see that we are the repository of resurrection? We are the resurrection miracle. Resurrection does not exist separate and apart from our lives and it is not exclusive to Jesus.

If we cannot find and see Jesus in our ordinary everyday life we surely will not find him here today amongst the alleluias, lilies, hymns, icons, shiny brass, candles, white vestments, and beauty of this sanctuary. Those things are not intended to set this day apart from all other days. Instead, this day is intended to reveal the resurrection truth and reality of all other days.

The stone was not rolled away from Jesus’ tomb to make his resurrection possible. It wasn’t rolled away so that Jesus could get out. It was so that we could see in. So we could see that there is no death, there is only life. Resurrection isn’t just an event in history, it is a way of being. It is a life fully lived.

The empty tomb is not simply the conclusion to Holy Week, a divine remedy to a human tragedy. It is the epitome and recapitulation of everything Jesus said, did, or taught. When it comes to resurrection it seems God just can’t help himself. Resurrection is just who and how God is. There is nothing but life. There is only life.

After all that I have only one thing to say to you on this Easter Day. And you already know what it is. Good morning. Now go home and you’ll see Jesus. Maybe that should be our new Easter acclamation. Let’s try it out. I’ll say, “Good morning. Now go home.” and you say, “And we’ll see Jesus.”

Good morning. Now go home.
And we’ll see Jesus
.

Good morning. Now go home.
And we’ll see Jesus.

Good morning. Now go home.
And we’ll see Jesus.


Sermons for Holy Week 2017

9 thoughts on “Good Morning. Now Go Home. – An Easter Sunday Sermon on Matthew 28:1-10

  1. “If we cannot find and see Jesus in our ordinary everyday life we surely will not find him here today amongst the alleluias, lilies, hymns, icons, shiny brass, candles, white vestments, and beauty of this sanctuary. Those things are not intended to set this day apart from all other days. Instead, this day is intended to reveal the resurrection truth and reality of all other days.” Amen!

    This whole thing is wonderful.

    Thank you, Mike.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yeah Mon! I have been listening to this message for 50 years There are many days where I do not feel any closer to home, or to the truth, than when I first heard or read this story.
    BUT!!
    Stories, and discourses like this…shake the ground, move the boulder, and resurrects something in me, that wearies and expires in daily life.
    Thank you kind sir, for who you have become, and for what you do.
    Jah Bless
    Wayniac

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One Easter, our pastor asked a group of kids what Jesus said when he came out of the tomb. One little boy wanted to be called on so much that he jumped and wiggled so the pastor asked him. The little boy stood up and, very proudly said, “Jesus said ‘Ta da!'” with his arms spread wide! I thought about that little boy when I read this piece. This is great, and his answer was, too, in its childlike way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We need our special days, Mike. But you have the gift of taking a passage or biblical principle we think we know and expanding that to new heights and/or new depths. You also made me think of the Gerasene demoniac who wanted to stay close by Jesus and all the holy things. Jesus sent him home: “And as he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. But he refused, and said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decap’olis how much Jesus had done for him; and all men marveled (Mark 5:18-20). Thank you.

    Like

    • Lawrence, thanks so much for your generous and encouraging words. I am grateful to have you as a companion on this journey, and to receive your insights and wisdom. I had not thought about the Gerasene demoniac being sent home – thanks for pointing that out.

      I hope you and Pansy are having a happy and blessed Easter.
      Mike+

      Like

  5. Pingback: Get Out Of The House! – A Sermon on John 20:19-31 | Interrupting the Silence

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