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April 21, 2019, 12:00 AM

Christ is Risen,Alleluia.

He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia.

We gather today to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, a re-birthing of sorts. We gather because in this event we get to meet a new dimension of Emmanuel or God with Us. We gather both to remember the events of all those many years ago and we gather looking forward because of the hope that the events of this day promise. We gather because Jesus not only lived and died but he also is the first born of the dead.

The resurrection of Christ is for us a momentous event. It is the conclusion of the events that ensures we receive complete forgiveness for all of our sins. This is the event that seals the deal. This is the event that ensures we never have to worry but instead can rest knowing that God loves us.

The resurrection of Christ changes our future. In the resurrection we find the promise of everlasting life. When we are baptized, it is into Jesus' life, death and resurrection with the promise that we will be with Jesus in the life to come. Since Jesus is God incarnate, come to live among us and Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the creator, we are also assured to be in the presence of God in the life to come. What more could we want than the promise of being with God for all eternity in the life to come.

The resurrection of Christ was not just about what is to come in the next life though. If we look at the life and teachings of Jesus we find that it was also very much about living this life well. In Jesus last instructions to the disciples was the words "Go out into all the world." This was not about some future Jerusalem come down from the sky in which the life lived is perfect. This was about using our lives here, now, and today for the benefit of all humanity. Jesus instructs us to care for the widow, the orphan and the poor. Jesus says when he returns he will be looking to see if we did those things in this life, not whether we did them in the next life and so we find that this event, which governs our eternal future was also very much about our immediate future.

I have some really great news for you. We have not been left alone to do this either. Jesus, God if will, saw fit to accompany us on this part of our journey as well. In the final words of Christ before he ascends to heaven he tells us that he must go so that the Holy Spirit can be sent to us. Remember in Jesus baptism we read that the Holy Spirit descended upon him, well God has seen fit to send us this companion for our pilgrimage on earth. One of the promised gifts of baptism is the Holy Spirit or the new way for God to be with us and to accompany us on our journey in this life.

All of this makes a great deal of sense if you consider the life of Jesus. Jesus was Jewish and the Jewish faith by my understanding is very much about how we live this life. We are told that Jesus attended and probably led a Passover meal as one of his last acts before he was arrested. We are told of the times that he was in the temple and how he was in the synagogues. All of this points to a man who was religious and held to the teachings of his day, except for those places specifically noted as exceptions to the teachings of the Judaism in his time. Not only was he Jewish but the evidence I have seen points to an observant Jew. For the observant Jew faith and religious life were about how we live this life.

This teaching that faith and religion are about how we live today is consistent. What we read about his life includes many stories of feeding, caring for, and healing the people around him. What we read about his life includes accounts of a very real person working to make this life better. What we read about Jesus, very truly and fully human, who is also the Christ, very truly and fully divine, leads me to conclude that his coming was not just about a hope for the future when all the pains and sufferings of this life time will be gone but about how we live our lives today and tomorrow.

So the very good news is that all your sins are forgiven and you have been given a second or third or fourth or whatever number chance to live your life well. Jesus the Christ died on a cross nearly two thousand years ago and was buried and then was resurrected by God. This action brought you forgiveness for all your sins. This action and your baptism bring you the promise of eternal life. That however is not the end of the good news. The good news goes on to say, you are now never alone, no matter what is happening, God is with you. For this it is suggested that we repent, turn from our old ways and seek to work in ways that are ever closer to the will of God.

Since Jesus was Jewish it stands to reason that the will of God is surrounded by his commands of the old testament to, “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” It is also in keeping with the command to the ancient Israelites that they are to care for the stranger in their midst that we have been commanded to love God and our neighbor and is it not important to care for those we love. And is not caring for an act of this life time and so we find ourselves with a particular concern for the widow, the orphan, the poor and the imprisoned. We know today that caring for the other brings positive psychological benefits and we do it, not only alone but also with our community of faith and So I bring you very good news, Jesus died that you might have life and life more abundantly as well as life eternal. 

When we gather for communion in a few minutes come with a light heart knowing that Jesus has risen from the dead. Come be renewed in the forgiveness of God and renewed in your relationship with God. Come to the table and be renewed in your knowledge of a God who is not far off but right in front of you leading the way to a better life, a life in which you know you are accompanied by the loving caring creator of us all and the creator this world in which we live. So, you are accompanied by the one best suited to knowing what this world and the people in it might need. Come to the table knowing we serve a living God who wants a relationship with us. Come to the table and be refreshed so that we can go back out into the world to lead the lives to which God calls us. Come to the table and remember that our Savior died for us but also that our savior was resurrected for us.

I come  to you with very good news: Jesus Christ is Risen, Alleluia!