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Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014
Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:1–10
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 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. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 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.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (NRSV)
It’s no wonder everyone loves church on Easter. The cycle of preparation and worship at Fourth Church offers something for every one of us. Some gather in the dark of night for the Easter Vigil; others walk out onto Oak Street Beach as the sun breaks over the horizon. Thousands wait in line for three morning services with the grandest pipe organ, brass, and voice one can imagine; then in the evening, we gather for jazz worship, looking for one more improvisation on this story we’ve heard every year of our lives.
All of this takes so much preparation—which is fine—yet it’s important to note that in the original story, no one is prepared at all. The women who come to the tomb, the disciples who are shocked by Christ’s appearance—none of them are ready, even though he told them to expect it. This is perhaps the point. After we close the book on the Easter we expected, we are called to remember the story in the days to come. When we return to our routine of work and family and the daily grind—as the women and the disciples did—we should be attentive to the ways in which God will surprise us with signs of new life, beauty, and hope, in ways and in places where we did not expect to see it.
God of Resurrection, may the new life of Jesus Christ mean new life for me, not just on Easter Sunday but in all of the days to come. May I see in the world that surrounds me surprises of life, beauty, and hope, found even in the most ordinary of places. Amen.
Written by Adam H. Fronczek, Associate Pastor for Adult Education and Worship
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