Easter Sermon 6:30am & 10am, 2017

Sermon Title: Easter Sermon 2017 6:30am & 10am
Date: 16h April 2017
Preacher: Rev’d Susanne Chambers
Church Calendar Date: Easter 2017
Lectionary Reading: Acts 10:34-43, (or Jeremiah 31:1-6), Psalm118:1-2,14-24, (or Hymn to the Risen Christ), Colossians 3:1-4, Matthew 28:1-10

The two Marys come to see the tomb after the Sabbath. They are there at dawn, as soon as there is enough light.

We have met this morning, as soon as there was enough light to witness the Light of Christ coming into the church from the darkness.

And yes, the light was carried into the darkened church, but what I mean by ‘coming into the church.’ is coming into the body of Christ…the light coming into each of us.

Such is the power of God’s love to reignite the light in each of us!

The two Marys come to see the tomb. They have come to complete the vigil…they were there at his crucifixion and they were there when Joseph of Arimathea, took the body of Jesus and placed him in his own new tomb. Joseph rolled a great stone in front of the tomb and went away.  The two Mary’s were sitting opposite watching this happen.

The two Mary’s come to see the tomb, to be as close as they could to their beloved friend and teacher, just as we do when we go to a cemetery or memorial garden or a special place to be as close to the one who died whom we love. It’s a place of connection; of time stopping. They were grieving but then an amazing event took place. At the descent of the angel of the Lord the entire earth shudders. The angel rolled back the stone and sat on it.  This would have meant to overwhelm and it certainly did! The guards were basically paralysed by this cosmic happening!

The two Mary’s were not paralysed, though I’m sure were in awe of what they were experiencing.  The angel spoke to them and said, as we hear so often in the gospels ‘do not be afraid;’

And then said ‘I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, he has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him. This is my message for you.”

How awesome was that! They knew what Jesus had said when he was alive, but after watching him die and placed in the tomb, they were grieving and forgot the whole life giving story.

The two Marys are like many of us who go to tombs to grieve. When we have lost loved ones, when we have lost our jobs, friendships, when our hearts ache for those we love who are ill or life isn’t working out as planned, and we can’t change their situation… we feel helpless… this is like going to tombs. We know what this is like.

And yet, this is not the end of the story.

The two Marys didn’t stay at the tomb. They looked in and saw that it was empty… ok, so death or the darkness of a tomb, doesn’t have the last say.

The angel of the Lord told them to go and tell Jesus disciples that he has been raised from the dead and they will see him in Galilee. On the way, they meet Jesus himself who says the same thing as the angel. This twofold testimony was recognised as irrefutable for those who followed biblical law (Deut 19:15).

The angel of the Lord and the Risen Jesus both say something to the women at the tomb and as they leave to share this message which was full of hope, and that was ‘do not be afraid’, Do not be afraid’.

There are so many big stones or rocks that cover the entrance of our tombs and we struggle to move from its darkness. It could be that we doubt these stories.  It could be that we really struggle with the ‘church’ ‘us’ being so broken. It could be that we feel stuck in whatever situation we find ourselves.

But the rock has been moved from the front of the tomb. We don’t have to move the rock.  It is done for us.

Maybe we are not ready for the rock to be moved..or to recognise that it has been moved… just yet.  The message is still the same. “Do not be afraid”.  The dawn will come when there will be enough light for you to see.

The tomb is now empty that held Jesus. There is hope. There is a sense of purpose to the whole way of being followers of Jesus the Christ. The Risen one!

A couple of weeks ago I celebrated being ordained 30years. One of the first women in Australia to be called by the Church into Holy Orders.  And so, when I read a story like this, of these two Mary’s who went to the tomb when there was just enough light and who were told by an angel that Jesus has been raised and then met him on the way to tell others, makes me stand in awe of these women and the many who from centuries ago, were followers of Jesus Christ.

Each time any of us launch out onto a different path to be true to our calling, not necessarily in the ‘church’ but any area of life, we are often challenged by the culture and society we live in, particularly for women.  And so I raise my hands in thanks that the story of the two Marys being commissioned to tell the other disciples that Jesus the Christ is alive has been remembered and recorded.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ that we celebrate today, reminds us that this event was not an event that happened a long time ago and we just remember the story. This is an event that changes lives.  Yes, back then and today…now, with each of us.

We say each Sunday, we are the body of Christ…we say this because we are! We are part of the resurrection!  Part of the new life that is offered to each one of us! We have the light in us!

How wonderful is that!

And this is part of resurrection- the words ‘do not be afraid’…do not be afraid to be your God-given self.  Look at Jesus’ life…he could have followed Joseph and been a carpenter, (not that there is anything wrong with being a carpenter!)  but his calling/ his God-given gifts led him on a different path…a difficult path but a most fulfilling one and one that gave so many people then and now, new life.

The two Marys come to see the tomb after the Sabbath. They are there at dawn, as soon as there is enough light.

That’s all we need to be able to ‘see’. Just enough light which is in you and me already!

The Lord be with you.