CAN YOU SEE HIM? HE LIVES!!
Isaiah 12; 2-6
MARK 16: 1-11
EASTER 2021 APRIL 4th
I … just …. want to … SHOUT FOR JOY! … I want to dance … I want to celebrate … Jesus Christ my Savior; HE … IS … RISEN <<HE IS RISEN INDEED>>
Now, didn’t that feel really good? To shout out HE IS RISEN INDEED; isn’t that the ultimate feel good statement in life for each of you? Nothing to keep quiet about … nothing to file away in some dusty filing cabinet … HE LIVES!!! A shout out for what you believe in your hearts … your connection with the God of Creation … your tribute to your personal Savior … the Son of God because He’s what Easter is all about. And, truthfully He should be what each of our days are all about … LORD, SAVIOR, TEACHER, MASTER … and yes, the Son of God. Can I hear “HE LIVES?” What about you folks at home … SHOUT IT OUT for your neighbors and the kids … HE LIVES!
u know … if you look at the people who follow Him, Jesus that is … the people who believe in Him, Jesus you remember Him … the people who have made reading the Gospel lessons a regular habit if you watch those folks you can actually see Jesus today. Through the works, the words, and the actions of the faithful! They are the folks taking bold stances for justice … they are the men and women out there rebuilding people’s homes and lives; caring for the sick and the battered … they are on the streets with the homeless; they are sharing food with those crossing desserts in a search for freedom, asylum, and safety; they provide water to those standing in long lines waiting to express their freedom through a simple vote; they are filling boxes for hungry neighbors; they are visiting men and women in prison and then welcoming those former prisoners who have paid their price back to society once they have done their time; and they are the individuals who without hesitancy embrace every one … every single person on this planet with love … celebrating the individual each of whom has been created in God’s image no matter what they look like or sound like or if they are rich or poor or whoever they love … Jesus people love them! HE LIVES and every day if we look around we can find evidence of Jesus’ verified existence in the people of faith.
Are folks who know you discovering HE LIVES through you? Through your words and actions and your life? We each have such an amazing opportunity to share the wealth … share the faith … share the joy … just by doing what Kirk Franklin calls MAKING SOME HOLY GHOST KIND of NOISE by living what we believe and what we believe is all wrapped up in EASTER isn’t it? HOSANNA … HALLELUJAH … JESUS LIVES … do you know it … do you believe it … do you celebrate it? How much joy do you have in these moments? How much peace does your faith bring to you and how much energy does God’s Holy Spirit give you so that you can do what God wants in your life?
TODAY IS EASTER … a day of joy … a day to celebrate … a day to discover or perhaps rediscover the energy and joy of faith that perhaps has been blocked by the large boulders of the world. Yes, you can allow today friends to be the day when that rock, which has deprived you of God’s joy, to be rolled back and then we can enthusiastically grab hold of our faith and incorporate that faith from Easter into the days to come.
Now, I am not talking bunnies and not even baskets filled with plastic streams of green nor eggs in rainbow hues not even the chocolates filled with delicious flavors … I am talking the authentic EASTER … the EASTER of Jesus Christ who was born of Mary whose lessons on how we are to live our lives are very clearly printed in our Bibles. That Jesus went to the cross for us … for our sins …. And, to know that some 2000 years later it’s possible to discover proof that He is alive well …. Through the people who believe and live their faith daily; well that’s awesome and that is what verifies faith.
It’s so cool and so awesome and so reassuring just to see Jesus in today’s world … because after all friends, HE IS RISEN! <<HE IS RISEN INDEED>> oh yea!
That tomb … it couldn’t hold back Jesus Christ, the Son of God … the powerful … the powerful of His time thought they had finally silenced the God message of love and justice; but they failed because the beaming light of the tomb’s empty reality overwhelmed the darkness of their world. And the women ,,, the women who went wondering that morning who would roll the stone away for them were about to experience the biggest surprise of their lives because that very large stone had been rolled back … that angelic figure in white was sitting there in the tomb … probably catching up on his social media on his cell phone … and he said, ‘DON’T BE ALARMED … you’re looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here … He has been raised. Yes, JESUS CHRIST IS BACCCCCCK BIG TIME … he defeated the grave … HE IS RISEN!!! <<HE IS RISEN INDEED>> Such an awesome feeling church … the God of Creation’s love proved true and that truth provides us with the reality of Christ … you can see Him, can’t you?
The women were overwhelmed in the moment because here was the proof their friend … their teacher … their rabbi … their Master it was the proof that what he had been telling them all along was the truth; the GOSPEL TRUTH … His words, “I am the way and the truth and the life” suddenly had greater clarity for the women and they knew the truth in His statement that “No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus the RISEN ONE … Jesus who had defeated death … Jesus who lived beyond the grave on that first Easter and Jesus who is alive today next to God looking down on those who believe in Him with love … those who follow Him .. those who learn from what He taught … those who are now shining the Christ light out into the world so that others want to discover what we have. They can see in us that having Jesus in our lives is of immense value not just some fairy tale but something that changes who we are in our lives while also giving us the hope for what is to come. And gives us joy that cannot be explained … so much joy … we just have to let our worldly guard down and take in the Holy. Reject the world and accept God and then live like we accept God first.
I have brought my stones back … the Dave Delaney tradition of choosing a rock to place in a position of prominence in our homes, cars, offices, or purses as a reminder that the tomb’s rock was rolled back for Jesus. We aren’t quite back to the safety of various hands reaching into the same basket so I have placed a rock … a stone … on your bulletins this morning … if any of you at home would like one of my stones just message me and I will get you one. There are some people who still have more than a dozen PD Easter stones serving as a reminder that the ROCK before their personal tomb that had been blocking the energizing of their faith has been rolled back. Will you place your stone somewhere special or will you toss it roadside in hopes that it blends with the gravel of the world … the Easter reminder along with the dust and dirt of the passing of time.
As I considered our readings for this Holy Day, I purposely left out verse 1 from Isaiah’s 12th chapter because I wanted each of us to consider how we live our lives … I want to suggest that in these moments between joyful shouts of He is RISEN <<He IS RISEN INDEED>> and the quiet worship at the Lord’s Table that together we need to consider exactly where Easter fits into the journeys of our lives. Is this one of those days of obligation or demonstration that will vanish before the ham is sliced or is this a day of true confession in our prayers followed by a hopefulness that today’s Sacrament of Communion will actually invigorate and renew our faith … taking it into a new reality rather than a description that is occasionally convenient. Will your life allow the rock blocking all that your faith can be … will you allow God to unblock your faith walk today in these moments? Rolling back whatever has kept you from shining Jesus light?
The first verse of Isaiah chapter 12 reads ‘YOU WILL SAY ON THAT DAY … I THANK YOU LORD.” I’ll stop there for a second because of all the weeks in the calendar year this is a week that we should all be saying THANK YOU LORD over and over again … for God’s love … for God’s sacrifice on Good Friday and for the resurrection proof of God’s power on EASTER … because folks Jesus Christ, the Son of God HE IS RISEN!!! <<He is Risen Indeed>>
Are you still feeling good in shouting that by the way or are you getting worn and tired of saying it? When you woke up today did you say THANK YOU LORD? Is this the day? The prophet continues by stating “I thank you Lord. Though you were angry with me, your anger turned away and You comforted me.”
You see church …. God had every reason to be angry with humanity … the loud politically motivated chanted CRUCIFY HIM CRUCIFY HIM and Jesus was put to a horrible death … don’t you think God was rather ticked off by those religious types who lusted for power and loved their political connections so much that they rejected everything God stood for … do you think that God has reason to be angry with the human condition in the year 2021? Does God have reason to be angry with you?
Well, I am here to tell you on this EASTER that God still wants to comfort you … comfort me and yes, comfort those individuals who thrive on putting their neighbors down. EASTER is the time when we can come back to God … renew our faith … reenergize our faith lives … become the people God wants us to be. When we live as God has called us to live it is then that our neighbors, friends, co-workers and family members will see Him through us and know that He lives!
You heard in the reading from Isaiah, “God is indeed my salvation; I will trust and I won’t be afraid! The Lord is my strength and my shield, He has become my salvation!”
The Kirk Franklin song Hosanna has this uplifting and energizing chorus, “The angels bow down at the thought of You; the darkness gives way to the Light for You. The price that You paid gives us life brand new. HOSANNA FOREVER WE WORSHIP YOU … HOSANNA FOREVER WE WORSHIP YOU … For you are the joy that my soul longs for. HOSANNA FOREVER WE WORSHIP YOU!”
On this Easter can you let go and worship with joy? Isaiah says,”You will draw water with joy from the spring of salvation and you will say on that day THANK YOU LORD! Shout and sing for joy because the Holy One is great among you!”
HE IS RISEN!! <<HE IS RISEN INDEED>> HOSANNA FOREVER WE WORSHIP YOU … HOSANNA FOREVER WE WORSHIP YOU! You can see Him! HE LIVES! If you need help finding Him just ask … we will help. AMEN