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Sunrise Service at St. John’s Lutheran Church in East Oakland, CA

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The Festival of the Resurrection

St. John’s Lutheran Church in East Oakland, CA

The Outdoor Service at 8:00am

Easter, 2001

Text: Luke 24: 1-12

This morning we proclaim that the right hand of God has triumphed! Jesus dies on the cross but God raised him back to life. The day of the cross is the day God acted. God began a new thing in Christ, a new creation – a glorious new day, a day that the Lord has made!

Yes, this is the day that the Lord has made.

Let us be glad and rejoice in it.

Raising his Son, God created a new day for us!

It is the day that the Lord has made!

Let us be glad and rejoice in it.

We know the story all too well. This Jesus had it together. Whenever he was around, God was present and the Holy Spirit healed everyone he touched. He challenged people to trust God and to live their lives spreading God’s love to everyone.

There was a poor woman filled with seven devils. He did not pass her by. He drove all those evil spirits out of her and left her a new woman full of the Holy Spirit; and placing the Kingdom of love and tenderness first, she followed him.

And you know the story. After Jesus had thrown the money changers out of the temple and demanded that it be a House of Prayer, the leaders and their temple guard came at night and arrested him in the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas had betrayed him with a kiss. All his disciples deserted him. Peter denied him three times. Only the women felt safe enough to follow him; when they had scourged Jesus, they made him carry his cross, and then nailed him to it.  This on the place of the skull, Golgotha.

Here was the one sharing love and tender mercies to all and that’s the way we brutally dispatched him out of this life!

He had entered this world with heavenly angels singing his praise. We poor sinners dispatched him back to God with hammer and nails – pounding them through his flesh, not minding the screams; and those near enough to hear him, heard him say, “Father forgive them; they know not what they do.”

So the women cried their eyes out. The men cowered behind closed doors. They did not want to be crucified next.

And Mary Magdalene, out of whom, Jesus had driven seven devils; Joanne, Mary, the mother of James, (Mary Jesus’ mother, may have been sick with grief!) – these women took one hundred pounds of myrrh, (which was very expensive, but they would have paid more), and were going to put these spices on his body to embalm him.

But when they arrived at the tomb, the stone had already been rolled away. And when they entered the tomb, they did not find his body. They were completely perplexed. Suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.

There were no proclaiming shepherds here. Not even the woman proclaimed it first. The angels were the first to proclaim the resurrection.

“Why do you seek the living among the dead? Jesus is not here. He is risen!”

Christ is risen!

He is risen, indeed.

Christ is risen!

He is risen, indeed. Alleluia!

“Remember how he told you,” the angels continued, “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.”

Christ is risen!

He is risen, indeed. Alleluia!

Then the women came to their senses and realized that Jesus had told them all along that this was going to happen. He knew he would be crucified. That’s why his sweat poured from his face like drops of blood in the garden.

And he had said on the third day he would rise again! And returning from the tomb, they told the eleven disciples and everyone else why they could not embalm him with their expensive spices.

The disciples said, “Get out of here! This is nothing but a crazy tale. Let the women talk!” They did not believe them.

But Peter also remembered the words of Jesus: “On the third day I will rise again.” And he ran to the tomb, which was empty, and amazed at what had happened, believed the women. After all he had denied Jesus. They had watched and stayed with Jesus all the way to the cross. And they witnessed the action of God. They received the revelation, as the men in the dazzling white clothes declared the resurrection to them!

Christ is risen!

He is risen, indeed. Alleluia!

And in the resurrection of Jesus Christ God acted! God put death to death, gave the devil to the devil, sinned against sin, damned damnation, sent hell to hell, and opened the way of salvation to all who believe.

The tomb is no longer empty and it is no longer a tomb. Death was put to death in it. And what we have left is life. The tomb is now the entrance to life.

O grave, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?

On that cross, in the dying body of Christ, God gave new life to this body of ours. The cross is the tree of life and all who receive Jesus, who are born from his death, become the children of God. And they go through death to life. Their sins are forgiven; they die to sin and enter the gates of righteousness. Yes all who are righteous by the resurrection of Christ will enter those ivory gates, those gates of pearl!

Christ is risen!

He is risen, indeed. Alleluia!



Written by peterkrey

April 10, 2010 at 12:02 am

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