Remember and Respond - Luke 24:1-12 (Easter Sunrise Homily)
How often we forget! If we're honest with ourselves we forget all the time! I'm not talking about forgetting names (like I do), forgetting birthdays (like I do), or forgetting where we've left our keys, our phone, or our glasses (like I always do). Not everyone forgets those things...some folks never forget a name, birthday, or where they've laid something down. Some folks never forget a word they've read our heard, possessing amazing photographic memories.
What I am talking about is how often our spiritual memories fail when it comes to the truths of God. Sure we may have, during our childhood, or even as adults, dedicated time to memory verses--committing brief lines of Scripture to our memory for a lifetime, or at least a day if we were trying to earn a star in Sunday School or Vacation Bible School. However truly remembering goes far beyond being able to write a few pieces of Scripture back in front of a classroom of our peers. True remembering is what comes upon our minds and hearts when it seems like the entire world is crashing down around us.
Mary and the other women had been in the very presence of Jesus. They had seen the power of the miracles. They had heard the wisdom of the very words of Jesus. They had seen his mercy and grace, and most likely, they joined Peter in believing that he was the Messiah. They had heard him say that he would be arrested, tortured, and put to death. They had seen the truth of those words themselves. However, in the shock of all that happened that's where their memoirs stopped and failed. That failed memory is in seen in their arrival at the tomb in morning. They came on the third day with spices to account a dead body. They came with hearts full of sorrow and disappointment. They came without hope. They had forgotten. They failed to remember that including in the foretelling of his arrest and death was the promise that on the third day he would rise again. Their grief and stress overwhelmed them and they forgot. They had to be reminded as they stood confused in the empty tomb--"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.”
It happens with us too. We get summoned in to the boss’ office to find out we’re being laid off…and we forget We get a letter from the IRS telling us we’re being audited…and we forget. The doctor walks into the room and asks us to sit down, the news is not good…and we forget. The police show up at our front door, saying, “There’s been an accident,”…and we forget. Our sister calls to let us know that after weeks at Hospice, our mom has finally departed…and we forget. These things happen, and somehow, some way, no matter how ingrained we think we have made the promises of God, we forget. We forget the promise, “Therefore do not worry about, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will be drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’…But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “ We forget the promise, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” We forget, “I am the resurrection and the life, those who believe in me will never die.” We forget, and so it is important that we come here to remember. As the women went to the tomb that first resurrection morning and we reminded of the glorious promise and witnessed its truth, so we gather to remember. We gather to remember that in the resurrection of Christ, we know that all of His promises are true. We gather to be reminded that God is faithful, that God keeps His promises. We gather to remember that God will provide. We gather to remember that God is always with us. We gather to remember that those who have surrendered their lives to Christ will never truly die.
And as we remember, as we remember that nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love of God found in Christ Jesus our Lord, we let our mourning, our stress, our fears turn to joy, knowing that God, through Christ, will redeem them all. And as resurrection joy fills our hearts, we HAVE to respond. We cannot remain silent, we must share the news. As the women ran to tell the disciples, so to must we tell those we encounter. Not because we want to brag about an encounter with Christ, but because we want to share the joy that has filled our hearts. We share the good news of the resurrection of Christ and of God’s faithfulness as a witness to those others who are struggling with forgetfulness…we respond to help them remember…to help turn their mourning into joy.
My brothers and sisters, if you have forgotten, remember…in conquering the grave, God, through Christ has conquered all…my friends remember the resurrection, let its joy fill your hearts…and respond…go tell someone who needs to know that Christ is Risen, God loves them, God is with them, and God will lift them up.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.