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Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016
Today’s Reading | Luke 24:1–12
But 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. The 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. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 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. (NRSV)
Where death is the last thing, fear of death is combined with defiance. Where death is the last thing, earthly life is all or nothing. . . . But wherever it is recognized that the power of death has been broken, wherever the world of death is illumined by the miracle of the resurrection and of new life, there no eternities are demanded of life but one takes of life what it offers . . .; one neither clings convulsively to life nor casts it frivolously away. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics)
Consider our world, where the wonders of technology promise limitless knowledge and global economies deliver custom-built satisfaction. Is human life given greater respect today than it was in Bonhoeffer’s time?
Still, into this world God calls us to speak an “idle tale” (in Greek, silly talk). The men who had been following Jesus disregarded it at first—their faith in the absolutes of life and death obscured the true value of the story of Jesus, who moved through and beyond worldly realities to save us from them. Instead the women, who did not seek power to inflict earthly death or look to their own strength to preserve earthly life, are the first ones to accept and pass on the idle tale of Jesus’ saving resurrection. They receive it by simply remaining faithful, in life and in death, to the one they loved.
On this glorious Easter, beloved friends, may we have the courage to remain faithful to Christ and not the absolutes of life and death in this world. Inspired by the example of the faithful women who served Jesus, let us speak “silly talk” about the one gone beyond death, who brings us resurrection life that can never be extinguished.
God of the empty tomb, today we give you thanks that Jesus died and rose again to free us from the earthly realities of life and death. Help us, in humility, to stop relying on our own power to save. Instill in us the faith of the women who treasured the “idle tale” of your beloved Son, the one who moved beyond death to grant us the life that will never end. Amen.
Written by Hardy H. Kim, Associate Pastor for Evangelism
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