Includes Sermon Audio
This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Collect of the day
God of glory, for your church with the power that flows from Christ’s resurrection, that, in the midst of this sinful world, it may signal the beginning of a renewed humanity, raised 2 new life with Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
- Acts 10:34 – 43
- hymn to the risen Christ
- 1 Corinthians 15:19 – 26
- Luke 24:1 – 12
- Acts 5:27 – 32
- Psalm 118:14 – 29
- Revelations 1:4 – 8
- John 20:19 – 31
A thought to ponder upon
On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them “they have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”
John 20:1 – 9
John’s Easter gospel says nothing of earthquakes or angels. His account begins before daybreak. It was believed that the spirit of the deceased hovered around the tomb for 3 days after burial; Mary Magdalene was therefore following the Jewish custom of visiting the tomb during this 3 day period. Discovering that the stone had been moved away, Mary Magdalene runs to tell Peter and the others.
Peter and the “other disciple” race to get there and look inside. Note the different reactions of the three; Mary Magdalen fears that someone has “taken” Jesus’s body; Peter does not know what to make of the news; but the “other” disciple – the model of the faithful discernment in John’s Gospel – immediately understands what has taken place. So great are the disciples love and depth of faith that’s all the strange remarks and dark references of Jesus now become clear to him.
While the Easter mystery does not deny the reality of suffering and pain, it does proclaim the reason for hope in the human condition. The empty tomb of Christ trumpets the ultimate Alleluia; that love, compassion, generosity, humility and selflessness will ultimately triumph over hatred, bigotry, prejudice, despair, greed and death. The Easter miracle enables us, even in the most difficult and desperate of times, to live our lives in hopeful certainty of the fulfilment of the resurrection at the end of our life’s journey.
The risen Christ is present to us in the faithful witness of every good person who shares the good news of the risen Christ to bring resurrection into this life of ours: to rise above life sufferings and pain to give love and life to others, to renew and recreate our relationship with others, to proclaim the gospel of the empty tomb.
Today we stand, with Peter and John and Mary, at the entrance of the empty tomb: with them, we wonder what it means. The Christ who challenged us to love one another is risen and walks among us! All that he taught – compassion, love, forgiveness, reconciliation, sincerity, selflessness for the sake of others – is vindicated and affirmed if he is truly risen. The empty tomb should not only console us and elate us, it should challenge us to embrace the life of the gospel. With Easter faith, we can awaken the promise of the empty tomb in every place and moment we encounter on our journey through this life.
Easter is about resurrection – not just resuscitation, not just about coming back from the brink, not just about bouncing back from a difficult situation, not just about a near miss when with been spared the worst that can happen, in fact, the prerequisite for the resurrection is that the worst – devastating loss and death – happens. And we are changed by the experience.
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The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.