2017-04-16 – Rev. Dr. Ryan Sato – First Baptist Church Edmonton
It’s Resurrection Reboot Sunday!
It’s new creation Sunday!
Or as The NT Scholar Luke Timothy Johnson says when talking of today’s first Easter story:
“The resurrection of Jesus is the starting point of the Christian faith.”
Perhaps a wee bit of a boring quote…but so true!
Let’s spice it up a bit…Easter Sunday is the “bang!” — starting line of our Christian faith!
Yes, it’s true that are well into the Christian year which began with Advent back on November 27… and we are well into the God-Story sermon series which began with Genesis/Creation way back on September 11…
But on Easter Sunday, we declare:
“On your marks, get set, BANG! Go!” Something new has been unleashed!
And I’m calling it the “Resurrection Re-boot” because of course, we the church, have been celebrating this starting mark for 2000 years…
And it’s important to get a re-boot every Easter Sunday, so that we might be reminded and inspired by the reality that just as Jesus was alive in a new & powerful way by the energy and the presence of the Holy Spirit back then…so Jesus IS alive in a new & powerful way today!
That’s why we shout: “Jesus has been raised by God! Raised by God indeed!”
Because the good news of the Easter story and every Easter Sunday (and that is why we precede it with the dark and solemn days of Lent) is that God raises dead things to life.
He raised Jesus…and our hope and promise for his word & breath upon us is that God raises us…from dead hopes, from dead dreams, from dead ends.
But whoa, whoa, whoa… it ain’t always neat and tidy. And it’s not always instantly obvious.
And it’s not always received with open arms and a pat on the back.
So – – let’s go back to today’s story for a few minutes…and hang on to the rollercoaster ride of the first “resurrection” proclaimers…
We’re on the road with Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary (mother of James). After a sabbath rest and what we would imagine was a fairly “I can’t believe it really happened/tossy turny” kind of night, they start off at the crack of dawn and go to do a body-annointing for Jesus’ corpse…
But instead of a life-less body, they find an “life-less” tomb…the 4-foot diameter, 400 lbs. stone, rolled to the side and no signs of life to be found…just the linen wrappings.
“Oh, it’s just as he said it was going to be!” They exclaim!
Ummmmmmm . . . nope!
No body. 2 Men in dazzling clothes standing beside them.
Hit the deck!
“The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.”
The angel of the Lord speaks:
“Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is NOT here…but has risen!
Remember?…. how he told you?….
While he was still in Galilee…
… the Son of Man will be handed over to sinners, and be crucified,
and on the third day RISE again.”
Then they remembered his words…
And returning (running!) from the tomb
They told all this to the 11 and to all the rest.
[Oh, thank you faithful women…of course that’s what you saw…NOPE!]
BUT….these words seemed to them…Nonsense (Greek = leros). An idle tale. Balderdash. “That’s a steaming pile of leros if I’ve ever heard of one” shouts Nathaniel. Humbug.
BUT…Peter! Got up…ran to the tomb…stoops….looks in…
He saw the linen cloths…and he went home…
Amazed (and shaking in his sandals) at what had happened.
* * * * *
Luke’s version of the first Easter story is a cliff-hanger…and that could be good for us…because we have a 50-day season ahead of us to keep on mulling this over… figuring out where Jesus is and what he’s up to…it might be perplexing, but it makes for intrigue and adventure in the days ahead, right?
Kids… you’ve seen the book “Where’s Waldo” right?
Well…for 50 days…let’s ponder “Where’s Jesus”… and let us together, help each other out.
But…where do we start?
The spirit of the Lord says to us: “Remember!”
Remember what Jesus told you.
Remember the Jesus stories.
We’ve been telling them here at FBC since Christmas…what do we remember?
What’s sticking with us as we enter into the season of Easter?
>>> take input from the congregation here <<<<<
And that’s why we gather in this place week after to week…to remember… But we don’t stop there….we run….we go…we tell. And yes, some people tell us we’re crazy and that it’s just a big pile of “leros”… But others need to hear the good news.
[Here’s a list of eg’s from Luke chapters 1-19]: – We’re not alone – The mighty one had done great things – Do not be afraid – Jesus will guide our feet in the ways of peace – Favoured ones, do not fear!
His love and his passion is written in these stories that we’ve heard and tried to learn from over the past several weeks. He’s present in these stories…but we also believe that Jesus’ life is on the loose, seeking to be found by us as we stagger forth in a state of amazement and wonder. On Rez Reboot Sunday, we’re reminded that Jesus is longing for us, again, to find him, to encounter him, that we might be raised to life anew from our wrecked, dark, and dead places.
So let us marvel. Let us be amazed by how Jesus will show up in the days ahead. How he will offer us anew words of healing, forgiveness and reconciliation. And for 50 days, we can move from “where’s Jesus” … to “there’s Jesus!”
Because Jesus will show up in our lives… Christ living in you, Christ living in me, whenever we replicate Jesus’ life in our lives. Echoing the things we have learned in the Jesus stories, Exemplifying his kindness, his mercy, his tender care…
One theologian/fransican priest that I’ve been reading this Lent is Ronald Rolheiser (from his book “The Passion & the Cross”). He names resurrection as an opportunity for us to “leave behind a string of empty tombs.”
>> His Easter challenge is this… [could we consider this challenge for the next 50 days?]
“To resurrect daily, to leave behind us a string of empty tombs,
to let our crucified hopes and dreams be resurrected so that, like Christ,
our lives will radiate the truth that, in the end, everything is good…reality can be trusted.
Love DOES triumph over apathy and hatred,
Togetherness over loneliness,
Peace over chaos,
And forgiveness over bitterness.”
FBC family and friends…for 50 days, let us move from “where’s Jesus” to “there’s Jesus!”
A resurrection reboot.
Jesus living in us, the body of Christ,
And all of us…together…remembering & radiating the resurrection triumphs:
Forgiveness will overcome!
Thanks be to our Life-Raising God.