The cross is the supreme and perfect revelation of God’s love for all of God’s people.
In the cross God chose to reconcile, restore, and heal all people back to God’s self.
Today is the crowning witness to our faith in the cross of Christ.
Lent culminates into this miraculous day.
This day is unmatched in the joy and happiness that we feel on this day.
In fact, for the remaining church year we celebrate the resurrection each and every Sunday because of this day.
For the early church they saw every Sunday as a celebration of the resurrection because Sunday was the day that Jesus rose from the dead.
Justin Martyr, a Christian apologist, wrote in 165 A.D. that Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly and gathering because it is the first day on which God created light out of darkness and God made the world and on Sunday God raised Jesus Christ our savior from the dead.
Christ is risen.
What does the resurrection mean for us today?
It means spring coming out of winter.
It means a baby being born the same day that his great-grandpa breaths his last breath.
It means a restored relationship that was broken.
It means a new relationship where there was no relationship.
It means renewed faith and hope where there was doubt and despair.
The resurrection promise speaks to us directly.
Faith is personal.
God is for and with the entire world but God also speaks directly to us.
Jesus comes into our hearts, our souls, our minds.
He meets our needs in life.
The beautiful things about the resurrection is that it leaves no one out.
This day leaves no one out.
Jesus rose from the dead so that we might have new life now, so that we might have a chance at new beginnings even now.
Jesus rose from the dead so that we might receive the promise and gift of eternal life.
Every Easter this is good news to hear.
But today this good news is especially good to hear because this was a very difficult Lent for us.
We were separated from each other and we were asked to live and worship in new and different ways.
I have never experienced a Lent like this one.
But I thought to myself that I am fairly young still so I called my parents and asked them if they have ever experienced a Lent like this before and they said no.
Then I called a member who is 92 and I asked her if she ever experienced a Lent like this before and she said no.
This has been a new thing for all of us.
Whether you are eight years old, forty years old, sixty-five years old, or ninety-two this has certainly been a different kind of Lent for us.
It is as if someone pushed a giant pause button on the world.
I never would have guessed that I would ever lead an Easter Sunday worship service before an empty church.
That I would speak and preach to my computer screen with hope and trust and faith that you are there, somewhere, safe in your homes, hearing the Gospel.
At a time like this the Gospel holds us together.
It is the glue which keeps us together.
The promise of new life out of death speaks to us this day.
The promise that God will create new life and new faith within our faith community is still proclaimed today.
We need to stay together.
We need to keep trusting in God and in God’s redeeming, healing, and restoring work in the world and in our church.
The best thing I can tell you this morning is to keep practicing your faith at this time.
As you do so continue holding fast the promise of new life given for you through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Keep reading your Bible.
Keep reaching out to your neighbors.
Stay connected to our church.
Our church does not need to close down at this time and disappear into the void.
In fact, our church can do more outreach and ministry then ever at this time.
Keep tuning into worship on Sunday mornings.
Keep reading the church emails.
Like, comment, and share the church Facebook posts.
Reach out and call one of our members.
If you are able, help with this new outreach ministry of making face masks for others.
This week I will be picking up a kit of face masks to be assembled.
Do you have gifts of sewing?
If so send me an email or a text and let me know you can help with this outreach ministry.
Let’s help each other out at this time.
By staying connected and in becoming involved in the life of our church we will begin to live more deeply into the Easter promise of new life even now.
In today’s Gospel reading the women left the empty tomb with fear and with great joy.
Notice how in the Bible it says that they left with fear and great joy.
This is a fearful time for us as well.
Life is scary.
Life is not as it should be or how we hoped it would be.
But we can still have joy even now because of Jesus.
Our faith gives us joy and happiness today.
Believing in the resurrection is more than simply an exercise of the mind.
Believing in the resurrection means that we open ourselves up to that which we cannot make or create for ourselves.
The resurrection breaks open the gifts of love, grace, forgiveness, peace, and new life.
Receiving these great gifts from God gives us joy and happiness this Easter morning.
This does not mean that all of our problems will disappear but it does mean that we can say with the Psalmist that today is the day that the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it.
When you gather with your family today or with those that you can safely meet with today maybe over the phone or your computer share in an Easter meal of thanksgiving to the Lord.
When you gather with others on this holy day sing a hymn of praise to God.
Even though we cannot sing together in this space I encourage you to gather around the piano at your home or if you don’t have a piano gather around your music player and sing an Easter song.
I have always liked the Easter hymn, Christ is Risen! Alleluia!
I love the line in the song:
Christ is risen!
All the sadness of our Lenten fast is over through the open gates of gladness he returns to life once more.
The sadness of our Lenten fasting is over and now we enter into the open gates of gladness through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Today I invite us to reflect on the meaning of the resurrection.
How God is creating new and beautiful life in our church.
The happiness and joy of God is spreading into our faith community this Easter morning.
Today I will be praying for our church.
I will be praying that the resurrection of Jesus speaks to you personally this day.
Remember that Jesus rose again for you so that you might have true and abundant life.
Jesus rose again for all of God’s beloved people.
Christ is risen!
Risen our victorious head!
Sing his praises!
Christ is risen from dead!