Mark 16.1-8 Easter Festival
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.3.31
In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
Risen, indeed! But who is this Christ, anyhow?
Listen to the angel. He will tell us. “You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.” In case you missed it on Friday, the story goes that a young man about my age, a carpenter by trade, with a carpenter father and a virgin mother got Himself into a lot of trouble with the religious authorities.
The people loved him, at least at first, though they eventually turned on Him, too, when the going got tough. In fact, if the reports are true, apparently his own Father forsook Him. At least that's what He cried out from the cross.
Forsaken, abandoned, beaten, hung on a pole to die. Is that who we seek this morning? It's who the angel thinks we're seeking: a crucified Nazarene.
No, the Christ we seek is living. Perhaps the angel is just confused. Or / perhaps the angel is seeing things from a whole new perspective; a heavenly perspective. In heaven, as on earth, “Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”
You see, there is no Resurrected Christ, without the crucified and dead Christ. You cannot fully appreciate the glory of the Resurrected Christ, until you've the seen the bitterness of the Crucified Christ.
Why? Because Christ isn't a spectacle to be gawked at. “Christ, the Lamb of God” is also “Christ, the Life of all the Living.”
We are not here to celebrate the memory of a great guy. We are not here to pat one another or ourselves on our religious or spiritual backs so that we can go on with life unburdened by our conscience. If Good Friday (and all of Lent, for that matter) has taught us anything, it has taught us how to die while we live.
A paradox and impossibility to the world and to the worldly-minded. But not to you. You live in this paradox as Christians, that is, with the mind of Christ, embracing the mysteries of eternity and holding on to them with all you have.
This is why you seek Jesus, the Crucified and Risen Lord, / because Christ matters to you; because you can't imagine life without Christ; because you know that there really is no life without Christ.
That is why you've come. That is who you seek. So let us not wait a minute longer. You have come to see Jesus, to be with Him this morning. Let it be done for you as you believe. / Let's eat.
In +Jesus' name. Amen.