It was a morning very like this when the women went to the tomb. There would have been a chill in the air. The women might have been hurrying along to warm up as they went. Luke does not share their thoughts with us, but I have to wonder how they planned to get into the tomb to anoint Christ’s body; surely they weren’t expecting the tomb to be open. And, the way the story goes, I guess it doesn’t really matter anymore what they were thinking – what is important is what they found on that chilly morning. I’ve been thinking a lot about what we expect to find on a morning like this. Each year we gather here to share fellowship and a nice meal. Each year we gather around this cross, facing east to the rising Sun. But, what do we actually expect…on a morning like this? Do we gather here because it is tradition and it is the proper thing to do on Easter morning? I guess if that’s what gets us up this early, then it’s not an all-bad motivator. Do we gather for the breakfast and the fellowship? It’s hard to fault that logic.
But let us all remember the real reason, the real expectation for gathering here this morning. It is to remind us that, on a morning like this over two thousand years ago, God raised Jesus from the dead to heal the broken relationship between God and humanity. Because of the sins of mankind, Jesus came to show us how to live and then he made the ultimate sacrifice of his own life. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) Jesus did for us what we were unable to do for ourselves…bridge the gap in our relationship with God. It was painful work to do and it cost Jesus his life. In the end, a morning like this saw Jesus come forth as the glorified Savior.
What we can expect from this day is that we can now live without fear in the arms of God’s love. What we can expect from this day is that we are forgiven and whole again. Unlike the women at the tomb, however, we should not be afraid; we should not wonder what has just happened. We know what happened and we have nothing to fear. On a morning like this, two thousand years ago in Jerusalem, our sins were forgiven and preparations were made for us to accept Christ as our Savior and be baptized. On a morning like this, we can look to the rising Sun with joy in hearts because Christ is Risen! Alleluia! He is risen indeed! In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.