Alleluia. Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Do you really believe that? Who believes today’s gospel (Luke 24:1-12) is true?
So let me ask you this, what makes this story true? I don’t think it’s true because the women “found the stone rolled away from the tomb.” And I don’t think it’s true because “they did not find the body.” And I don’t think it’s true because “two men in dazzling clothes” said, “He is not here, but has risen.”
I don’t know if any of that actually happened, and neither do you. So if you’ve come here today simply believing and trusting that the story is true, I have two words for you: “Stop it.” It’s not enough to just believe this story.
I don’t want us to leave here today believing in this story. I want us to leave here today living this story. This story has meaning and is true only to the extent it is lived and experienced in our lives. What good is it to us if the stone has been rolled away from Jesus’ tomb but not ours? What good is to us if Jesus is free of his grave clothes but we are not? What good is it to us if Jesus is raised from the dead but we are not?
Today is not the wrap up or ending of a tough week for Jesus. And it is not the happy resolution to Holy Week. Easter does not suddenly replace Good Friday, turn back time, or undo the past. And Easter is not what makes Good Friday good. Easter is what keeps Good Friday from becoming the Last Friday, not just for Jesus but for you and me too.
Easter makes a future possible. It declares us and our lives to be more and larger than what has happened to us or what we have done. I think that’s why Peter “went home, amazed at what had happened.” I don’t think he was amazed at what had happened only to Jesus. I think we was amazed at what had happened to himself. He experienced a change, something new, something alive within himself. He was not only a witness to the resurrection, he was resurrected. And he didn’t just go home, he returned to himself.
Who among us today doesn’t want to be amazed like that? Don’t you want to come home to yourself? I do. I want to be true to myself in a way that makes a difference for the better in my life and yours. I want to choose depth over abundance, meaning over peace of mind, love over fear, growth over comfort, vulnerability over security, humility over arrogance, wisdom over knowledge, compassion over indifference, and forgiveness over paybacks.
Look at the ways those choices enlarge and give life for ourselves as well as others. What if that’s what it looks like for the stone to be rolled away and the grave clothes to be laid aside? What if that’s resurrection?
What would it take for you to leave here today amazed at what had happened to you, amazed at what is happening to you? I’m not talking about amazement in the sense of something magical, out of this world, or a spectacular “eggstravaganza.”
I’m talking about the kind of amazement that deepens your life and gives meaning; that leaves you weeping in gratitude; that surprises you with your own goodness and beauty; that causes you to whisper to yourself, “Yes, amen, let it be;” that takes your breath away, leaves you speechless, and makes you glad to be alive; that opens your heart and eyes to more than you ever imagined, the possibility of the impossible.
Let me show you what I am talking about. This is Sutton and she’s one and a half. Isn’t she amazing? Look at her and see the miracle of life, the beauty of creation, and the image of God revealed in a human being, is that not amazing? Take a look at her, consider all that might be for her. What do you see in her that amazes you, and what if she is a mirror showing you what is amazing in your life?
In just a few moments Sutton will be baptized. What are your best prayers, hopes, and wishes for her? My guess is that you want her to leave her today amazed at what has happened to her, amazed at who she is, and amazed at the life that is before her. And isn’t that also what we want for ourselves?
We want Sutton and ourselves to leave here today eastering. Eastering, isn’t that a great word? That’s my word for living and making todays’s gospel true in our lives. I got it from the poet Gerald Manley Hopkins. Easter is something we believe in, eastering is something we do.
The stone has been rolled away and the grave clothes have been laid aside so tell me, what do you need to choose or change in order to leave here today eastering and living like “a bridegroom married to amazement” (Mary Oliver)? That’s the only question that matters today.
Alleluia. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Let’s not stop there. Alleluia. Sutton is risen. Sutton is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Alleluia. Estelle is risen. Estelle is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Alleluia. Jim is risen. Jim is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Alleluia. Beverly is risen. Beverly is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Alleluia. Amelia Bea is risen. Amelia Bea is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Alleluia. Janice is risen. Janice is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Alleluia. Abby is risen. Abby is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Alleluia. Becky is risen. Becky is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Alleluia. Clayton is risen. Clayton is risen indeed. Alleluia.
You get where this is going, right? We could go on for a while. So on this next one I want you to shout out your name.
Alleluia. _____ is risen. _____ is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Yes, indeed. Yes, indeed. Happy eastering!