Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunrise Service: In the Moment of the Resurrection

I was asked to talk about how the early Christians regarded the Resurrection at our Sunrise Service. I decided to write from the point of view someone who was there, more dramatic than didactic. I hope they like it. In my head, the voice is a woman's; although, I suppose it doesn't have to be.

These last few days have ricocheted from joy to despair. From the triumphal entry into Jerusalem with palms and cheers to the cross on Golgotha with tears and rejection.

I followed the teacher from my home in Gallilee here to Jerusalem. My family think I have lost my mind. I didn't listen to them. I believed. I believed the teacher was the Messiah come to lead the people of Israel....I believe he is the Messiah. But if he is the Messiah, how could he die? ...I am so angry....I am so confused... I trusted Jesus with my life, and he couldn't save his own. What happens next?

Dawn is almost here. It's time to go meet Mary and the others to anoint the teacher's body for proper burial now that the Sabbath is over. How fortuitous that Joseph had a tomb that we could use. What would we have...Wait....Who is that running? It looks like, maybe, yes, that's Mary and Peter running towards the teacher's tomb. But why is it already open?...

Empty? It was empty when they arrived? How can that be? Risen? Resurrected? What can that mean? Will the teacher live among us like Lazarus? What will the chief priests do?

Mary says she has seen him. The risen Jesus spoke to her. Oh, I should have walked faster! I might have seem him, too. He had told us he would be leaving us, that we would have to take care of each other, but I never thought that death on the cross was what he meant. He became our Passover Lamb, our sacrifice in apology for our sins and in gratitude for God's having saved and preserved us. He did not die because he was too weak to fight the system. Rather, he chose to give his life, to suffer, so that we might be saved. Truly there is no greater love.... He kept telling us the scriptures foretold his suffering and death just as they foretold his life. We didn't want to listen, though. We didn't understand. Now, now we know.

We must tell the others! Surely even after Golgotha there are still at least a hundred of the teacher's followers here in Jerusalem. We few will tell them, and they will help to tell everyone; to spread the word.

Jesus is risen! The Messiah will bring the kingdom of heaven to earth.