Sunday, April 24, 2011
Let's Get This Party Started!
Pastor: What did the women see when they looked into the tomb?
Child: There was no one there!
--from the children's sermon on Easter Sunday
A member of our church died yesterday. He had been fighting cancer for the last four years, or so. I didn't know him, but I knew he who he was. I'd seen him a few Sundays back. He was a regular church goer. He, by his regular attendance and worship was a faith-role model for me. His name was Jack Fix. He died yesterday afternoon after being in hospice care for a week, or so. When his death was announced in church today the first thing I thought of, and it might be silly, but I could almost see St. Peter at the Gates seeing Jack coming along and saying to him "Oh, good! You're just in time! There's a heckuva party getting ready to start, and you're invited!"
Indeed, there is.
Today's Gospel reading in the lectionary came from Matthew 28:1-10. I found the second verse to be a wonderful image: "And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it." (ESV) For some reason, the image of an Angel of the Lord sitting on the stone that was just rolled away makes me smile. I can almost see the Angel swinging his feet back and forth sitting on top of the stone waiting for the women to come having a hard time containing the greatest news of all!
The tomb was empty! Empty!
It is because of that empty tomb that Mr. Fix in his glory. His glory, neither earned or deserved, but given freely. Given to us through Jesus Christ's death on the cross and his resurrection from the tomb, because 'death is swallowed up in victory, oh death, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting?" (1 Cor 15:54,55). Indeed, death has no victory, there is no sting. Death is the loser, death gets stung, and Mr. Fix gets the gift of eternal life, his party has just begun.