Alleluia He is risen!

The Lord is risen indeed.  Alleluia

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, AMEN

 

“Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”

Tonight we stand at the intersection of time’s finitude and eternity.  The time where all of creation, guided by this new light in Christ Jesus is led to an empty tomb.  A tomb where Christ was laid and where Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others arrived to find their Lord to be missing.  We read that two angels witnessing their prostration before the tomb asked, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen.”  Imagine the confusion that must have set in.  Implicit in the next lines is the fact that these women had been with Jesus as He taught.

The angels say, “Remember.”

Shocked, the mothers are jolted out of their expectations, shot through with the emotions of their recalling of Christ’s time with them.  For a fleeting moment, the movie of their life with Jesus flashed before their mind’s eye as they remember.  They remember the healing, they remember the feeding, and they remember the way in which He stood at the border of expectation and their definition of a Messiah.

In disbelief, the women return to the eleven and relate how Christ had shattered their concept of death (to which all, save Peter, we read was taken as an “idle tale.”)  Peter, the Rock, stands, and as sure as a cockcrows in the morning, runs, doesn’t walk to the tomb.  Peter sees only the linen cloth that covered his friend and Lord remaining.

Perhaps, as he rested his hand along the rough edges of the stone that took many strong people to move into place, he lost his breath.  As the sound of his heart pounding in his chest while it raced to supply blood to his body, and while the sweat beaded upon his brow, he stoops down to take in the sight one more time before he leaves to go home to make sense of what his mind and eyes have experienced and the contradiction to what his heart is feeling.

Peter remembers each time he was faced with an opportunity to acknowledge his friend and Savior, each time that he had questioned him and recalls Christ’s words to him when he said, “I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when one you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”[1]  He probably realized this as the time he turned back, that he ran back, to remember his duty to strengthen his brothers.

The Lord is risen.

The angels say, “Remember.”  

Remember the Jordan River and how our Lord received the baptism of water by John.  The time where the skies opened and heaven descended upon Christ, the time in which the eternal and the momentary danced upon the wings of a dove. 

Washed in the new birth of baptism, God assures us that this is God’s Son, his beloved with whom he is well pleased.  This incarnation of God’s son, in the body of humankind, received the blessing of baptism before his ministry on Earth.

Doubtless those who were baptized will remember this evening.  You have been prepared as new members of the body of Christ; the church.  Charlotte, Sophie, Shun Tzong, and Robert, you have witnessed the vigil, renounced the forces of evil on a universal, global, and personal level, turned your lives to Christ, given him your trust, and promised to follow him.  We, as the Body of Christ, have remembered alongside you, our commitment in our own baptismal covenant and in the creed. 

Remember to continue in the apostle’s teaching and fellowship. Each time we reunite ourselves to one another and in the Body of Christ at this Eucharist, Heaven and Earth are united in that moment.  By Jesus’ death he has destroyed death and that eternal banquet is set for us each time we return to find a living Savior in the Sacraments. 

Remember to persevere and to not fall prey to discouragement.  Resist those things that separate you from the love of God, and when you fall into the despair of whatever the situation brings, stand and turn toward a risen Lord.  Keep returning as many times as it may take.

Remember to proclaim by word and example the Good News of God.  There are times when the words may not come, or the way may seem unsure.  Share your story; take this news back to others just like Mary and Joann did.  You never know whose ear your story may fall upon and how your story may help draw a clearer picture for someone else.

Remember to see others like Christ sees you.  This world is full of chances to see things again.  If we seek to find love in others, we become sought by love.  This seeking is our connection to one another.

Remember to strive for Justice and peace among all people, furthermore, to respect and be convinced of the dignity of each and every human life.  This world can be broken, abused, neglected and estranged.  We need only look to the daily news for examples where people have let slip the virtues of Justice and the mercy of peace.  Be agents of mercy and be agents of peace.

A small bottle of water from the Jordan River was mixed within the baptismal font this evening.  It is there as a reminder that, though we are thousands of miles away from where Jesus was baptized, you are connected by the same stream. 

Tonight we are witness to a risen Savior; we are connected in the renewal of our own baptismal vows, and those who have been baptized before us.  We are united in Christ’s death and Resurrection.  As we have joined the chorus in the Litany of the Saints, let us like Mary Magdalene, Joann, Mary the mother of James, remember Christ’s words.  Let us, like Peter, when he left the tomb be amazed.

Alleluia He is Risen!

The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!

 

AMEN   

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Luke 22:3

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