The Resurrection of Our Lord (April 24, 2011)
Lessons:Acts 10:34-43 or Jeremiah 31:1-6 Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 Colossians 3:1-4 St. John 20:1-18 or St. Matthew 28:1-10
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, so that we may live with him forever in the joy of the resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
28.1 After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 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.” 8 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
St. Matthew 28:1-10, New Revised Standard Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America).
Go Quickly and Tell
“I’m gonna tell!” How often have we heard those three words? Well, maybe not many times since our 10th birthdays. But leading up to that day, every one of us heard that phrase over and over again. There is a battle of wills. One knows that the proper authorities (Mom? Dad? Teacher? Coach?) might tip the balance. And so the threat is made: “I’m gonna tell.” But interestingly enough, the rush to inform the authorities is calculatingly slow. There is no real desire to tell – just the hope that making the threat might persuade the other to respond favorably.
On the other hand, the desire to tell can be genuine, and extraordinarily urgent: the birth of a child; the approach of a Tsunami wave; the discovery of a therapy that might be the cure to an illness; the beauty of a sunset; the first flames of a house fire; the rescue of a lost skier… There are those moments when every ounce of our being aches to tell the news we have just received.
On the first Easter morning, St. Matthew tells us that two women – Mary Magdalene and the other Mary – go to see the tomb of Jesus. They go, expecting death. They are faithful, devoted followers of the rabbi from Nazareth. In their minds, this journey probably is the first of many visits they plan to make in months to come. It is their way of honoring the difference he has made in their lives. It is their way of staying near to him – staying connected with him.
Just as dawn is breaking, they arrive at the tomb. Suddenly, the earth shakes as an angel descends from heaven. This angel rolls back the stone which had sealed shut the door of the tomb, and sits on it. The appearance of this angel, the earthquake and the opening of the tomb are too much for the Roman guards (stationed there to prevent anyone from stealing the body of Jesus). They faint and “become like dead men.” But not the women: they receive the message of this angel. “Do not fear. He has been raised. Go, quickly, and tell his disciples.”
Their hearts are filled with joy. Their minds can hardly comprehend the good news they have just received. Faithful and devoted, they do exactly as the angel command. They go. And they go quickly. While they are running to tell the disciples, Jesus suddenly meets them. His words to them echo the words of the angel: “Go and tell my brothers to meet me in Galilee.”
“Go quickly and tell.” That is the command given to Mary and Mary, first by the angel and then by Jesus himself. Go quickly and tell. Time is short. The message is urgent. There are those who need to hear, and the hearing of this word will change their lives in ways that they could never have anticipated.
“Go quickly and tell.” That is the command given to all of us who, through the waters of our baptism, have been grafted into this family of faith. We have been entrusted with the same message given to Mary and Mary. It is an urgent message. It is a message that has the power to change people’s lives in ways that they never could have anticipated.
This Easter Sunday we plan to celebrate, again, the greatest news the world has ever heard. Our deep hope is that we’ll hear that news this weekend as if for the very first time – and that it will make every ounce of our being ache to go and tell.
David J. Risendal, Pastor
Exploring This Week’s Gospel:
- What were Mary and Mary expecting to find at the tomb of Jesus.
- How did the angel’s words completely change what they experienced there?
- What was the result of their willingness to go quickly and tell the others?
Connecting with This Week’s Gospel:
- Who was instrumental in telling me about Jesus?
- How has knowing Jesus, and experiencing his grace, changed my life?
- Who might I go and tell about Jesus? How might I help them to see the power of believing in Christ?