Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday in Easter Week: Waking up the dead

Opening Sentence
On this day the Lord has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Collect of the Day
Almighty Father, who gave your only Son to die for our sins and to rise for our justification: Give us grace so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 136

Lessons: Exodus 13:1-2, 11-16; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58; Luke 24:1-12

In Luke’s account of the resurrection, when the women come to the tomb, the angels tell them that Jesus has risen from the dead. Before that, however, they ask the women a question, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

That question is a challenge to all of us. “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

When we hear those voices that tell us that, as a church we need to accommodate, compromise, and surrender to the world, it is a sign that we, as a church, have become comfortable with living among the dead. If we have no message of hope, no message of mercy, no message of forgiveness and grace, then we have nothing to offer the world but a eulogy.

Yet, there’s more to the resurrection story. In Matthew and Mark, the women are told that Jesus “is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him.” When the disciples do see Jesus in Galilee, he gives commissions them to proclaim the Gospel: “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.” In other words, “Go out there and wake up the dead! Go out there and tell them that there’s a new life available to them. Tell them that they don’t have to remain dead in their sins, but they can live again.”

Jesus Christ has opened the door to a new life. Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen. And he has gone before you into Galilee. Go, catch up with him. Go and see him. Listen to his voice. He is calling us, not to become comfortable among the dead, but to wake up the dead. Wake up the dead with the message of resurrection, of forgiveness, of love and joy and peace.

What do we say to the voices that would have us abandon our message of forgiveness and mercy for a message of accommodation and compromise? To them, we say this: Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, laid down his life for those who are lost and hurting and suffering, in bondage to sin. He has entrusted to the church the only message that will bring those lost, hurting souls new life; and that message begins with the gracious invitation, “Repent and believe.”


He's Alive!