I always love coming to the sunrise service because we get to see and physically experience the beauty of the rising sun, the freshness and new day dawning. Words often pale in comparison to what we take in with all of our senses.
(Time of Silence)
And yet… there is more to consider on this Resurrection day.
There is more to take in, think about and even more to experience as we figure out what Christ is risen means in our lives, in our communities…
You may be aware that today is April Fool’s Day. It is not a day I typically observe or even like to acknowledge, but I wonder how many of you saw the post on Facebook that had a weather man forecasting another 10-12 inches of snow across the region for this weekend and then at the end of his forecast he said that lovely phrase, “Just kidding, you guys, April Fools!” Did any of you see it?!?!
Well, then did you see the comments that people had for this young weatherman? Very few of the comments are appropriate for sharing here, but let’s just suffice it to say, people were not pleased with his joke and let him know, in no uncertain terms, what they thought of his fake forecast.
Even if you didn’t see it, I know you can all relate to the reaction people had. With the storms we have had during the month of March here in New England- we are so ready for Spring we can taste it! We are so ready to have the snow gone, to have flowers bloom, to have the warmth of the sun caress our skin- we are MORE than ready to have spring sprung on us!
But let me ask you, do you feel the same about the Good News of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? Are you SO ready for it that you can taste it? What does it mean to you that Christ is risen?
When Spring finally comes upon us, we know what to do- we get out in the garden, we go to baseball games, we have proms to attend, we know what to do once the weather warms up.
But, do we know what to do after we experience the resurrection of Jesus?
We hear in scripture that the disciples were in a state of disbelief at what had just occurred. Mary was so freaked out that she stood there weeping and could not recognize Jesus when he presented himself to her. The disciples had already returned to the upper room, not sure what to say or do with these most recent events- they were in a state of stunned silence…
Maybe we can relate to this? Have you ever had an instance where words fail and silence comes in?
Maybe at the death of a loved one?
Or seeing the Grand Canyon or Arches National Park?
Or holding a baby for the first time?
Or maybe watching the sun rise?
But here’s the thing, we don’t stay in those silences for long. God is there with us, patiently waiting. Eventually prodding us, encouraging us, commanding us as
we come to and
we shake our head and
we clear our throat and
we find a way to share with those around us what we have experienced. We try to put into words how it has blown our minds and we come up with a plan of what we will do next.
It may take us a while, but that is what we do.
That is what Jesus said to Mary and that is exactly what we are asked to do in this moment and in the coming moments after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We are told in Acts that God “commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that Jesus is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets, (that is all of us), are to testify about Jesus, (to share the Good News) that everyone who believes in Jesus Christ receives forgiveness of sins in his name.”
God is asking us to pick up where those wonderful folks left off so many years ago. We are invited to share this story with other people, now!
We may not have all the right words or even know what to say, but we can tell people that God loves them- enough so that God gave God’s son for us. We can tell people about our experience of love and struggle and death and hope –we can share the stories of our faith journeys.
We are encouraged to let people know that when the tough stuff happens, the stuff that leaves us silent or awe-struck- that God is there in that moment, sometimes carrying us through it. We need to encourage others to take their stories and carry on with their witness of God working in their lives!
We are called to share with folks that sometimes all we get is the word — the difficult, challenging, yet hope and faith creating word — that Jesus is risen.
God is commanding us to go and tell our friends and neighbors and even our enemies that
today life beat death,
life wins today,
love wins today,
love wins always.
God’s love always wins, go and tell it, friends, go and tell it.