The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
I think you would agree that 2020 and 2021 are the most different kind of Easter celebrations that the church has had in modern times. Instead of all of us gathering in church, decked out in our Sunday best – some are sheltered at home, and others are out on the church parking lot, all due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
So we are missing some and adapting other traditions of the celebration. Lots of churches and organizations have Easter egg hunts on the day before Easter. Yesterday our Eggstravaganza was eggxcelent! When I was a child, I would always get a new outfit for Easter, my brothers got new suits. I couldn’t wait! Easter speeches, peeps, jelly beans, baskets...and my dad would always have an Easter basket full of treats and toys for each and every grandchild (and for me too!) - happy Easter!
But the day before Easter in the year in which Jesus was crucified, was anything but happy. I don't know if you've ever felt so down that you just wanted to quit. Or if you’ve ever looked around at your circumstances and thought, there's just no way outta this thing.
But if you have, then you understand the "no way out" emotional dilemma that the disciples experienced the day after the crucifixion of Jesus.
They faced a personal crisis of faith. Peter was no doubt beating up on himself for denying the Savior. John was there at the foot of the cross but couldn’t do anything to stop it. The others had scattered, and well, we know what happened to Judas after betraying Jesus (he hung himself).
These were some trying times but thank God that somebody got up early and went to the tomb during this bleak time in Christian history. Was it the disciples? One of the men Jesus had healed, one of the lepers he had made whole? Who was it?
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
The women went to the tomb! Remember, the others had scattered. But these women were there. We just celebrated Women’s History Month in March and I find it so fascinating that the first to observe the miracle of stone-rolling power, were women. Isn’t that just like Jesus?
And as they were headed to the tomb to anoint his body, Mark 16:3 tells us,
"and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
They wondered just who would remove the obstacle that kept them from being with the Master. Has anything ever kept you from Jesus? It seems that we have a whole lotta things that hold us back, keep us at a distance, blocking us from truly being free in Jesus.
Worship with us on this Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, as we relive the wonder and amazement of what happened on the first day of the week, early in the morning, as these women came to the tomb. They came empty but left full.
We will have worship outside on the front lot at 10:00 am! Please bring a comfy lawn chair or bean bag or blanket, but we’ll also have some folding chairs out as well. We will maintain our social distancing and masking, per CDC guidelines. This time we’ll be on the front lot, putting Jesus on full display! Feel free to spread out on the lot as designated, or the grassy areas. Did someone say beach blanket bingo? To register for outdoor worship, you can sign up at: https://rsvp.church/r/gVufUAP4 . You can also join us online at 10:00am. For online worship go to www.umcgt.org.
I look forward to our first Resurrection Sunday together, celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and sharing in His body and blood through Holy Communion! Hallelujah!