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Morning!




Morning! Matthew 28:1-10 Many of you know that I’m a morning person. I tend to get much more accomplished in the mornings... when my mind is fresh, and my energy level is good. Mornings are the most productive time of day, for me. I had a friend (a local doctor) who used to say that most mornings he’d wake up, the first thing he’d say was, "Good morning Lord!" But, every now and again, after a rough, sleepless, night of tossing and turning, he’d wake up and instead of saying "Good Morning, Lord," he’d say "Good Lord, it’s morning." The women in our gospel lesson... were morning people. They were up and at it early... mainly out of necessity I’m sure. But they were also MOURNING people... they were grieving... in shock... despair and disbelief. They were mourning the actual death of Jesus, no doubt. But they were also mourning the loss of their assumptions... their hopes... their ideals... their expectations... On Friday... they had watched Jesus die on the cross. They didn’t have time to properly prepare his body for burial... He’d been hastily wrapped in cloth and laid in a borrowed tomb. So on Sunday morning they came to complete the task of preparing Jesus’ body for burial... and to mourn. They came to look upon and touch death. They came in sadness and grief... to finish a job they’d rather not do. But as it turned out... God had other plans. We’re told, the earth shook... and the stone that sealed Jesus’ tomb (that in their grief the women had forgotten to make arrangements to have removed), was already rolled back. And instead of looking into a tomb at a corpse, the two Mary’s found themselves looking at an angel... a messengers from Heaven... who was as bright as lightening... whiter than snow. I can imagine that for the better part of two days everyone these women knew, had offered words of sympathy... condolences... saying things like, “We are sorry for your loss.” But this angel had no such condolences. Instead, the angel said, “Jesus is not here. He has risen. Go tell the others.” So filled with fear (and joy) the women went... and on the way, they encountered Jesus, alive and in the flesh! And Jesus said, “Don't be afraid but tell my brothers!” These women came to the tomb as mourning people, mourning the death of their Lord and friend. But they left as morning people, people of a new day... a new beginning... a new start. They came to prepare Jesus’ body for eternal rest... and left, with a calling and purpose, and reason... to prepare their family and friends to receive their risen Lord. Are you mourning people or morning people? I don't know what your heart was like this morning... only you and God know. But I do know, that many of us are dealing with increased level of fear and anxiety... This coronavirus pandemic has us on edge (at least to some degree). If nothing else we’re worried about the economy... our investments... our ability to simply purchase the things we need. I came across a blog post a couple of weeks ago now that says it all: It was written by a blogger named Sarah Bourns... “We’ve all been exposed. Not necessarily to the virus (maybe... who even knows). We’ve all been exposed BY the virus. Corona is exposing us. Exposing our weak sides. Exposing our dark sides. Exposing what normally [lies] far beneath the surface of our souls, hidden by the invisible masks we wear. Now exposed by the paper masks we can’t hide far enough behind. Corona is exposing our addiction to comfort. Our obsession with control. Our compulsion to hoard. Our protection of self. Corona is peeling back our layers. Tearing down our walls. Revealing our illusions. Leveling our best-laid plans. Corona is exposing the gods we worship: Our health, our hurry. Our sense of security. Our favorite lives. Our secret lusts. Our misplaced trust. Corona is calling everything into question: What is the church without a building? What is my worth without an income? How do we plan without certainty? How do we love despite risk? Corona is exposing me. My mindless numbing, my endless scrolling, my careless words, my fragile nerves. We’ve all been exposed. Our junk laid bare. Our fears made known. The band-aid torn. The masquerade done. So what now? What’s left? Clean hands. Clear eyes. Tender hearts. What Corona reveals, God can heal...” What’s the coronavirus exposing in you? In me? It’s amazing how Jesus can take the things of this world... both the welcomed and the unwelcomed... and use those things to remind us of what really important... what really matters... what we really need. Maybe this Easter finds you in grief... mourning the loss of something or someone. Maybe your anxiety is out of control... maybe you feel lost, lonely, alone... Maybe your heart is burdened because of the worries of life. Maybe you’ve had a long stretch of rough nights... Into such a world: Christ is Risen! He is alive... the first fruits of a new morning for creation. He is author of new beginnings. Just as he rose that first Easter Morning... he can, and will, restore life and light and hope for you and me! By the grace of God - as followers of Christ - you and I are no longer a mourning (grieving) people. We are morning people; people of a new day. People of new beginnings. People of hope. Jesus is alive. Say it with me "He is alive." You & I are morning people because new life has dawned on us in Christ. Let’s follow the example of the women at the tomb so long ago. Let’s go and tell others that we know Jesus is alive... because we’ve seen him... and he lives in us. Amen.

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