The Resurrection of Our Lord; Year C (3/31/2013)
Lessons:Acts 10:34-43 or Isaiah 65:17-25 Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 (24) 1 Corinthians 15:19-26 or Acts 10:34-43 St. Luke 24:1-12 or St. John 20:1-18
Prayer of the Day: O God, you gave your only Son to suffer death on the cross for our redemption, and by his glorious resurrection you delivered us from the power of death. Make us die every day to sin, that we may live with him forever in the joy of the resurrection, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
24:1 … On the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4 While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. 6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” 8 Then they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.10 Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.
St. Luke 24:1-12 New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
The Living Among The Dead
It is early morning, on the first day of the week. All the commuters in and around Jerusalem are either stirring, getting ready at home, or already on their way to work. Some of them, no doubt, are remembering the tumultuous events of the previous week. Others are trying to shift their focus to what lays ahead of them for the day.
Not Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, or the other women. The mundane tasks of everyday living are far from their minds. They are making their way to the tomb, in the still of early morning, to take care of their tradition’s sacred responsibility to the dead. They have done this before. They have the spices prepared. They know the dark, damp air that sits, unmoving, in the back of those caves. They know the cold, hard feel of a body three days dead. They know the heartache of looking down at a familiar yet lifeless face. They are steeling themselves for this important but terribly difficult task.
This time they carry with them perhaps a bit more dread than usual. He is young — too young to die — but they have anointed young people before. What sets this one off as unusual is the dissonance between their high hopes, and his awful demise. It is painful to remember how the crowd turned against him, how the officials tortured him, how he struggled up the hill to Golgotha, how he breathed his last. It is even worse to remember how they imagined him to be the one; the one to bring redemption to Israel; the one fulfill the promises God made to their ancestors; the one to bring peace back to the Promised Land.
The cross seems to have put an end to all of this, and so they make their way to the place of the dead, preparing to do what faithful people do for those who have died. There is no life in this morning.
But when they arrive at the place of death, they find it not to be as they expected. The stone has been rolled away from the tomb. They enter the tomb, perhaps imagining that someone has made their job a bit easier by giving them access to the crypt, but once inside they discover that his body is not there. Suddenly two men appear — hard to describe these two (were they angels?). These women hear words they have never before imagined, but words that will change their lives: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. In that moment, they are transformed. Once grieving, perplexed and terrified, they now remember, and on the strength of their remembering, they race back to tell the others.
Their first attempt to share this news doesn’t bear much fruit. The disciples, still stuck in grief, confusion and terror themselves, consider it to be “an idle tale.” But this, in time, will change. And even those dense men will, like the women, find that their lives are transformed by the proclamation of the resurrection.
The living, in fact, cannot be found among the dead. It can only be found in the presence of the Crucified One, whom death could not hold. He is not here. He has risen. He goes ahead of you. And he will meet you there.
David J. Risendal, Pastor
Exploring This Week’s Gospel:
- What were the women’s expectations as they made their way to the tomb on Easter?
- How did the announcement of the angels change them?
- Why were the disciples unable to believe what the women told them?
Connecting with This Week’s Gospel:
- When have I felt like those women: grieving, or perplexed, or terrified?
- How has my faith been a source of comfort and strength for me in those times?
- How does it affect my living, to know that Christ goes ahead of me?