A New Dawn – Easter Sunrise 2022

Luke 24: 1-12

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

Sermon Text

As the sun rises this morning, we welcome its light as a sign of our Lord’s resurrection. The darkness of Holy Saturday cannot stand against the Light of Easter Morning. Death has lost its sting this day, Sin all its power over our lives. The dread oppressors of humanity cannot hold onto us any longer. We have the power now to follow God as we never had it before, the power to do what is right in this life, and the assurance that our life shall carry on fully into the age to come. Today life wins out and today God has been established as the ruler of all things.

The story of this morning, as recorded in our scripture, shows people responding to Jesus’s resurrection. The women who gathered to give him a proper burial enter to find him gone. We are not given a description of their reaction in Luke’s gospel, the angels are too quick in appearing to tell them what has happened. The women hear of Jesus’s resurrection, and are reminded of his promise this would happen. When the angels bring Jesus’s words back into their minds, their hearts catch fire with the glory and love that God had shown them. They suddenly realize just what this day means, and they run off to tell the other disciples about God’s miraculous work.

No one believes them when they speak. The exact word used to describe their story, “and idle tale,” in English, is used elsewhere in ancient texts to describe the way people talk at parties. The disciples hear the Jesus was telling the truth, that angels appeared to confirm it, but are unwilling to believe it. The women who first witnessed that God’s salvation had come into the world were being told, essentially, that they sounded like they had been drinking when they said things like this. Only one disciple investigates the matter, Peter, and we are not told that he believes the story after going into the tomb. Instead, he simply is amazed that the events of this morning are taking place. He knows Jesus is gone, the resurrection is not yet revealed to him.

In the dawn of our own new day, we know better than the disciples did then. There are lessons to be taken from this story. Firstly, we see the value of good news, and the truth that it carries. We are so jaded as a people that we, like the disciples tend to hear people promising good things and we assume they must be selling something or that they have lost touch with reality. In truth, those who bring us the good news of God’s salvation – not of money, or power, or any other distraction – are some of the most wonderful gifts God could give us. Like those who went to bury Jesus properly, they speak the truth of the Gospel in adoring love of Jesus, and they sustain us in this life.

These women are able to spread this wonderful news, because they are reminded of God’s promises by the angels. Alongside our tendency to doubt good news, we also forget to tell each other the good things God has promised us. We forget that we are told there will be a day where there is no war. We forget that there is life and life abundant here and now. We forget that there will be a renewal, and not a replacement, of all things everywhere. When we proclaim God’s promises, we have the potential to relight the fire in the hearts of those around us.

Finally, we are reminded in this story that the morning sunlight of God’s new kingdom can sometimes be too much for us to comprehend. Sometimes when God is working, we are unable to see just what that work means for us. The light blinds us in some ways, and we like the disciples are left in our own doubts and preoccupations. Some of today may feel like, even if God is doing something wonderful, we simply cannot bring ourselves to see it. Well, let us all take heart in the truth of this Easter morning. There is light bursting into this world, some have seen it and some have not yet seen it, but it is there. God has brought life back into this world, and we will all know its glory, even if we cannot see it just yet. Remember these words, and count them as true, Christ the Lord, is risen. – Amen.

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