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Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013
Today’s Reading | John 20:1–18
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. (NRSV)
The long fast of Lent is over; we have journeyed through Holy Week; we have sung “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”; we have heard the Solemn Reproaches of the Cross on Good Friday, each one ending with the phrase “you have prepared a cross for your Savior,” and now, finally, we are able to celebrate the victory of life over death, of light over darkness, which is at the heart of the mystery that is Easter Day, the day of resurrection. Our hymn now is “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today.”
Easter is what marks the very essence of the Christian faith. This person Jesus is not some ancient hippy wandering mystically about, telling people to be nice to each other and doing some healing. Jesus is the “one anointed” by God (in Greek, Christ) to be the agent for reconciling God’s people to God’s own self. That reconciliation takes place through the mystery of suffering, death and the great miracle of the resurrection, which proclaims the ultimate defeat of that which is the great divider between God’s people and God: death itself.
Love is at the heart of Easter—God’s love for you and me as it is incarnated in Jesus, the risen one, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit. Happy Easter!
The Lord is risen. He is risen indeed. Thanks be to God Amen.
Written by Calum I. MacLeod, Executive Associate Pastor and Head of Staff
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