4/21/19  Easter Sunrise Service

3 women on a chilly Sunday morning make a decision to “finish the job properly”.  They got up early that morning thinking it would probably be a long day for them.  Because time had been so short on Friday afternoon, the burial of Jesus had not been done “properly” they felt.  So, they all agreed to meet early and get this task done so they could then get on with the tasks of their life – and their grief as well.  They got all of the spices just right to anoint the corpse and set off.  But along the way one of them states the obvious that had been overlooked, “who will roll away the stone from the tomb?”  It was a great question and an impossible task for them to do by themselves.  But they keep going with the idea that we will figure that out when we get there – let’s just get there.  As they turn the corner, they see the stone rolled away and they walk right into a resurrection!  WELCOME TO THE EASTER STORY!!

Have you ever had a day like these three women?  You start out early after making plans and preparations and then what you expected to happen suddenly is changed.  And your day went much different than expected.  If you have young children, older cars or are a caregiver for someone else, then you know that your plans are always flexible.  If so, you can relate to these women that day.  Not just their day, but their life was suddenly and unexpectedly changed forever by the resurrection!  This is another message of Easter – God can suddenly and unexpectedly make changes in our lives!

The three women were walking what they thought was a road of death and suddenly walked straight into a resurrection.  How many of us here today are walking on a death road?  Roads to death are where we carry the same old baggage, the same old pain, the same old grief, the same old disappointments.  For some the death road is a place where we are prisoners of the past – like Peter (notice how the angel told the women to tell the disciples…and peter).  The road to death is also marked with dead thinking like “what was or what used to be is always much better than what is!”  If any of these represent your life journey today, be careful, you just might be walking into a resurrection!

Easter give us right vision – resurrection vision and helps us to see differently and well as to see things differently.  Easter helps us to see the truth so we can share the truth.  The angel gave two directions to the woman that morning: 1) come see where he was laid and, 2) go and tell others that he is risen.  There once were two soldiers in a bunker in WWI.  A grenade exploded mortally wounding one soldier.  As he was dying, he turned to his friend who had lived a terrible life of crime and was wanted by police in many different places.  The wounded soldier said, “Give me your identification papers and take mine.  My name is clear so take my good name; my identity and my life and I will take all of your crimes and transgressions away with me in death.”

This is the same offer Jesus makes to us through his saving death on the cross on Friday and the promise of beginning again through his resurrection on Easter!   Jesus was not the only person resurrected that first Easter morning.  The women and the disciples experienced resurrection too.  Their stones were rolled away just like Jesus’ stone was rolled away.  Those who were walking a road of death and were down and out were transformed into “up-and- at-‘em” people!

So as up-and-at-‘em people this Easter morning, may we each be reminded that God still rolls away the stones blocking us from the risen savior and calls us to come and see so we can go and tell!

Easter is God’s promise and message that nothing – not even death can separate us from God and God’s love through Jesus Christ!  Regardless of the obstacles, problems, persecutions, heartaches and heart breaks, past failures or future trials, God IS with us always!

Now that we have come and seen that he is not here – he is risen; let us be sure to share the good news of resurrection to all who are walking down Death Road that they too might experience resurrection promise and power from Jesus.