Christ is Risen!
He is Risen, Indeed!
This morning’s message is not one I want to reprint or excerpt. Instead I’ll give a summary of some of the things discussed and link to some things I found interesting as I prepared the sermon.
I started out by borrowing a little bit of the intrigue from Rob Bell’s Resurrection, and the story about Jesus and the Temple. That video is simultaneously profound and straightforward to me. As he would say: so. good.
The rest of the message was centered around this one verse from Matthew:
“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.”
A couple of things stood out to me. First, the earthquake. Thanks to the Sermon Brainwave and Karoline Lewis, I was inspired to take the metaphor of the earthquake as far as I could. I talked a little about how the death of my good friend earlier this year shook me to the core. I quoted this from my journal:
All throughout our friendship, Kelly was more than just Kelly. The things that I loved in her are all the things that I aspire to be… a respected pastor, a competent preacher who preaches what she truly believes, an organizer, a leader in the community. She was a force. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising, then, that her death feels so cosmic in its significance, as if I have to now wrestle with every single tenet of my faith right now, at this moment. Cruelly, I have to do it by myself, without her, my biggest theological guide.
I talked about the phrase cosmic in its significance and compared it to an earthquake. It is really true that along with resurrection we find tremendous upheaval and shaking. Nothing is the same in resurrection. Everything changes.
I mentioned organ donation this morning and talked a little about the process, and what it has meant to me over the past year.
In addition to the detail about the earthquake, I also expanded a little on the detail of who removes the stone from the tomb in the resurrection story:
In Mark’s version the women came to the tomb and they ask each other “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”
Luke says “They found the stone rolled away from the tomb.”
In John, it’s Mary Magdalene who comes to the tomb, and she finds it already removed as well.
But Matthew is the only one who has this detail of who removed the stone. An angel. An angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.
What does it mean to embrace this detail? The stone wasn’t just passively moved. An angel moved it.
I closed the sermon by offering my very best version of a Presbyterian-style altar call. If there’s any day to call folks to choose resurrection, to choose (or re-choose) Christ, today is that day.
He is Risen, y’all!
The Sermon Remix is a series on this blog where I take a portion of my Sunday sermon and add in relevant links for further investigation and study.