“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 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” (Matthew 28:1-7).
In a Preaching magazine sermon called “Easter as an Earthquake,” Rev. Dr. William Willimon, Dean of the Chapel at Duke University, concluded with these words: “In the fifties, in China, there was a devastating earthquake. But as a result of the quake, a huge boulder was dislodged from a mountain thus exposing a great cache of wonderful artifacts from a thousand years ago. A new world suddenly became visible.
On that first Easter Sunday, when the stone was rolled away, and the earth shook, we got our first glimpse of a new world, a world where death doesn’t have the last word, a world where injustice is made right, and innocent suffering is vindicated by the intrusion of a powerful God.
The women came out to the cemetery to write one more chapter in the long sad story of death’s ascendancy, one more episode of how the good always get it in the end. This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper of resignation at death’s dark victory.
And then – the earth heaved, an angel appeared, the stone was rolled away, Caesar’s soldiers shook. The angel plopped himself down on the stone in one final act of impudent defiance of death, and the soldiers and all that, and said to the women, ‘Don’t be afraid. You’re looking for Jesus? He isn’t here.’
Then that angel turned to the soldiers and said, ‘Be afraid. Everything your world is built on is being shaken.’ Nobody went back the same way they came.”
When I read that it gives me “goose bumps!” I know Dr. Willimon added a little to the text that we don’t normally find, but it really makes sense! Doesn’t it? Everything changed on that first Easter morning and, if we allow it, our world and our lives will never be the same.
Why not take some time today to give thanks for what Jesus accomplished for us through the cross and rejoice that his victory is still available for all who will receive Him! To God be the glory!
Next Sunday we will continue to examine this idea of resurrection and the message is entitled “What’s Your Number?” Our scripture lesson will be I Corinthians 15:17-26. I hope you can be with us and I look forward to seeing you.
Until then, HAVE A GREAT WEEK WITH JESUS!
Sincerely His then yours,
P.S. Thanks to everyone who helped make our Easter Breakfast Buffet such a great success! A special thanks to Tom & Lisa Beckmeyer, Jimmy & Renee Gilliard, Terry Brown, Donna Cachia, Linda Atkin, and others to numerous for me to remember who helped with this event. God bless each of you for your efforts!
PRAYER UPDATE: I am happy to report that Lynne Cummings and Nancy Head are both at home and recovering. Continue to pray for them and also for Jim and Don as they have the role of caregivers.