Resurrection Day has arrived.
We celebrate this Easter Day each year because it is important for us to go over the story again. When we tell the story it reminds us of the depth of God’s grace and love for us.
It is also true that we celebrate the Resurrection every Sunday when we gather for worship and share in the Lord’s Supper.
But it is also true that we celebrate the resurrection every morning when we awaken to a new day. That in itself is like being raise from the death of sleep to the life of a new day.
So what I am wondering today is “What does the resurrection of Jesus mean for you? Right now? Here today?”
I think we all know that the Resurrection of Jesus is a very powerful declaration of God’s love for us. It is something that we believe changes the whole cosmos.
But what difference does it make for you?
For some of you your understanding of the resurrection might have been the one thing that gave you hope for a new life when you were running away from your homeland to keep safe. In finding a place of refuge you have experienced NEW LIFE in a very practical way.
Some of you may have been going through some very dark times in your lives. Maybe illness. Maybe stress in your job. Maybe broken relationships. When you look at the Resurrection you might find the courage to hope for a new life too.
By the resurrection of Jesus we are able to have a deep personal relationship with God. If nothing else, the Jesus story tells us that Jesus was God who came among us and lived like us. He showed us what God was like and he showed us what we can be like.
A long time ago in England there was a battle between the English and the Normans at a place called Hastings – 1066ad it was. Against a much greater enemy, the English were almost winning.
This was in part because a rumour had started among the Norman troops that their leader – King William – was dead. They were all losing heart.
Unfortunately for the English, the rumour was not true. When King William heard about it, he took off his helmet and rode up and down among his troops shouting “I am alive! I am alive!”
The result was immediate. It was almost as if these dead bodies of soldiers were raised to new life. They found new courage.
I suppose this story gives a glimpse of how the disciples might have felt after they had seen Jesus crucified and put in the tomb. They were certainly sad but I am sure they also lost heart.
The message from the Angel in Matthew’s account has a sequence to it. The angel says “Do not be afraid.” How easily fear gets in the way. It prevents us from living the great life God wants us to have. But the angel tells us – Do not be afraid – he is alive.”
Then he says “Go and tell his disciples that Jesus is risen.” When they did that – half afraid and half joyful – they met Jesus. When they met Jesus they did what comes naturally. They worshipped him.
On Thursday evening I mentioned a story to you by Wendell Berry in which Jaber Crow has a vision of what life could be like in the church – a vision of the church the way it will never be, but a vision that inspires our faith.
Galal said to us on Friday that we should have courage in our faith.
Archbishop Roger told us yesterday that through the resurrection of Jesus and our baptism all those markers of difference between us have been washed away. We are no longer able to get caught up in fighting over our differences.
Today I say to you – live the resurrection every day.
Wendell Berry in a poem he wrote called Manifesto: Mad Farmers Liberation Front makes it clear to us that if we are to live in Resurrection ways, everyone else will think we are mad. That is because the ways of the world are so opposite to the ways of the Gospel.
So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it.
He even says many other things that even you English speakers might puzzle over. The very last phrase of his poem is what I want to leave with you. He says:
I leave it with you because I don’t really know what it means. I can’t easily explain it. But I know it is something I must do. Many times I will not get it right. Every day I will practice it. I trust that the Lord will trouble your mind as you try to understand what it means for you.