Easter Sunday Sunrise Service
St Barbara’s; 27.03.16
Rev Tulo Raistrick
What gets you up very early in the morning?
Maybe its young children, clambering into bed, wide awake and wanting to chat.
Maybe its worries and concerns that have been playing at the back of one’s mind, causing you to toss and turn, and finally give up on the thought of going back to sleep.
Maybe its bird song, or traffic noise, or someone mowing their lawn before sunrise (as it was for us the other morning).
Luke tells us in his gospel that the women, “very early in the morning” took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. I can imagine for them that they had been waiting for daylight for some time, waiting for the first opportunity to go to the tomb. They may have been kept awake by their grief, their numbness, their loss. And now is the first opportunity to do something practical. Having been shut inside throughout the Sabbath, now they could go and do something.
And when they arrive, they are confronted by an empty tomb and two men with the appearance of angels telling them the most extraordinary of news: “He is not here. He is risen!” Wrapped around those sentences are two other sentences. Lets take the second one first.
The angels tell the women: “Remember how he told you while he was still in Galilee: this was going to happen.” In other words – “Don’t be so surprised – this was what he said was going to happen. If you don’t believe us, at least believe what he said.” Christ’s words are what matter. When we are in doubt, when we are struggling, to return to the words of Christ, is what we need to do. I find it striking: the angels don’t point to proofs; they don’t even point to themselves as blinding angelic beings that were hardly everyday occurances; they point to Christ’s words. They are the foundation of our lives. Remember his words – that is what will help you make sense of life.
The angels also say: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” It is an obvious question once you know Jesus is alive. But I wonder how long would those women have spent searching the cave, sitting at its entrance trying to fathom and make sense of what had happened without those angels’ words?
We too can spend a lot of time looking for Christ in the wrong places.
For where there is life, there is Christ. Where there is beauty, where there is hope, where there is kindness, where there is love, there is Christ. His resurrection gloriously bursts the boundaries. His risen life means that incredibly he is with us now, as he is with other Christians in other parts of the world as we celebrate Easter morn. When we show love to one another, when we help others to be all that they are, when we delight and are thankful for the good things in our world, when we overcome and defeat the destructive forces of our world, Christ is present with us. This is where we are to look for Christ. This Easter as we look through the lens of the resurrection, we will see him in places we never expected.
The angels’ words to the women on that extraordinary first Easter morning were to trust in Christ’s words, to look for him where there is life, and then they will know and they will meet the one who is risen!
Now that is something I hope you agree is worth getting up early for!