The Resurrection of Our Lord; Year C (3/27/2016)

Lessons:Acts 10:34-43 or Isaiah 65:17-25 Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 (24) 1st 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. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. 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. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, 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.

A Lifetime of Easter

This Sunday Christians will gather all over the world, as people of faith, to celebrate the resurrection — the belief that our God is more powerful even than death itself. We will recall how, on that first Easter Sunday, God turned the tables on death, and made it possible for us to know everlasting life. We’ll read lessons that proclaim this sacred, good news. We’ll gather around the table where Christ is once again made present to us. We’ll be sent into the world, to be a reflection of the love this story has shared with us. Trumpets. Lillies. Festive decorations. Ceremony. Greetings of peace. All of these, simple human attempts to point to the sacred truth: we are deeply and profoundly loved by a God who chooses to become one with us, and to draw us into the promise of Christ.

There will be sacred gatherings leading up to this day. At Saint Peter we’ll begin the Triduum (3-Day Worship Service) on Maundy Thursday as we receive words of personal absolution, gather at the table with Christ, and remember those who shared that last meal with him. We’ll continue this rite on Friday as we walk with him to Golgotha and witness his Passion. On Saturday, the Triduum ends with the Great Easter Vigil — a service of readings and baptism and the first Eucharist of the Easter Season. As we enter into these times of worship we prepare ourselves to experience Easter Sunday most fully.

There will be scared gatherings that flow from this day. Bunnies and eggs may only last a day, but the celebration of Easter continues for a week of Sundays. Officially, the Easter Season extends through the Day of Pentecost (May 15th this year). The themes and stories of this season are rich. The faith of Thomas, the Doubter (April 3rd). The rehabilitation of St. Peter (April 10th). Christ the Good Shepherd (April 17th). The Lord’s commandment that we love one another (April 24th). The promised gift of the Holy Spirit (April 31st). Jesus’ prayer for Christian unity (May 8th). The arrival of the Holy Spirit (May 15th). Each of these stories bears the power of the resurrection, and through them we experience new life.

Easter, along with the weeks that come before and after it, stands at the heart of our liturgical church year. It stands at the heart of our faith as well, as we consider the announcement of the angels: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” The story doesn’t end at the tomb. The Christ lives on, and has empowered the faith of billions throughout the years. Likewise, the story doesn’t end with these sacred gatherings. The Christ lives on in us. Through our worship we are welcomed into God’s love, just as we are — and we are sent into God’s word to be a reflection of Christ’s love. Transformed by this love, we give ourselves to a life of serving God and sharing this good news with others.

We are an Easter People. We live Easter Lives. Our every thought, every action, every hope and every dream is shaped by the Good News proclaimed this coming Sunday. And we wish this for you. May the mystery and majesty of the Easter message fill your hearts with hope and joy. Amen.

David J. Risendal, Pastor

Exploring This Week’s Gospel:

  1. What must it have been like of the disciples to hear the message of the angels?
  2. How did it touch their hearts, and empower their ministry?
  3. Why was it so hard, at first, for them to believe their eyes (and ears!)?

Connecting with This Week’s Gospel:

  1. What does the message of Easter mean to me?
  2. What are my hopes for our times of worship in Holy Week and the Easter Season?
  3. Who might I invite to join me for these celebrations?