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Sermon: The Church Rising

Easter Sunday 12th April 2020

Sermon

Okay so today I thought I would preach from the pulpit

Now some of you have always wanted me to preach for up here so there you go - and what better time could there be to proclaim from up high than Easter - to say he is risen! He is risen indeed!

It actually pretty weird being up here in an empty church

In fact its like the empty tomb - all the life of our church is not here…

Jesus also is no longer in a tomb or building he is risen and moving about the place.

The scriptures this morning and particular the gospel of Matthew talk about this risen Jesus being very much on the move.

He is risen and in Jerusalem and the Disciple are there too, but maybe they are scared and lying low or running away.

Anyway Jesus tells Mary to go ahead and tell them I will see them in Galilee

Now why would he go all the way to Galilee - thats where Jesus started 

They are all there in Jerusalem why don’t they meet there?

Thats a really good question and scripture doesn’t really answer that for us.

We can do some maybes 

And we are actually going to do that now in the break out rooms now

Why wouldn’t Jesus say lets meet up again in Jerusalem 

 

So for whatever reason we have a Jesus who is on the move.

He moves from Jerusalem to Galilee 

And then he invites his disciples to be on the move as well. 

To be telling people the good news.

Well I get asked what’s the Good News Raz?  What can I tell people?

Essentially the Easter good news is that Jesus is alive, he is risen.

Thats the basic thing to tell people.  This will probably lead to a whole lot of other follow up questions but thats the basic good news to get the ball rolling.

And we hear Peter in our Acts reading delivering this Good /News 

39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead.

Peter is not preaching in the Church here 

No he is out in the community at the Roman century Cornelius’ house.

Peter who has just had his own spiritual reawakening that God loves all people not only the Jewish people.

Peter is here to let Cornelius (a Roman soldier no less) and his whole house know all about Jesus.

He is doing contextual mission here in real everyday life.

Not in the favourable, safe church building

He is out in the community sharing the good news.

And this is not standing on street corners or forcing people to listen - Peter has been led by the Spirit step by step to this place of sharing in Cornelius’ house.

And likewise we too while called to share the resurrection news are not meant to do it stupidly.

We are asked to heed the prompting of the Spirit as well.

To go where Christ moves us.

That will however mostly be where we normally are.

In our homes, workplaces and where ever we move.

It most probably won’t be in the Church where we all gather and I lead the worship service.

Thats because we do here what Mary did when Jesus saw her.

We believers, worship at the feet of Jesus.

It is from here, from the feet of Christ, from worship that we are called to go quickly and tell others about Jesus.

The short sermon Peter delivers to Cornelius's household illustrates how the proclamation of the resurrection can work.

For these men, the significance of Jesus' resurrection provides them evidence of God's commitment to all humanity--a commitment that Peter, thanks to his recent experiences, has just come to perceive in a new light. 

The resurrection, he tells Cornelius and others, provides the foundation for a new way of looking at the world.

A world where all are equal and peace, hope, joy and love are the key things that we focus on.

And Peter very particularly ties all this back to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The good news that changes our reality, our worldview.

In Judaism, Moses was raised to new life, and so too Enoch and Elijah. 

In a debate with the Sadducees, Jesus said that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were already alive in God. 

In the transfiguration, Jesus stood alongside Moses and Elijah who were already alive in God, already raised from the dead. 

Paul says in Galatians, ‘I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.’ 

The miracle of resurrection, the miracle that changes the course of history, happens – has always happened – in the soul of the believer. 

And so we are called to give good news to souls of people.

That is the good news of Easter.

That is the movement of Easter.

Because  the disciples began Easter with a journey.  

To see Jesus the disciples had to hit the road and go to the quiet place where he also had moved to meet them. 

Now our world is not eagerly pushing forward to trudge over to those out-of-the-way latter-day mountaintops to let us introduce them to Jesus.  

It’s hard to get up and come to Church when there is so much other stuff going on in life.

Because Easter is not easy, nor is the Easter life we are called to live.  

However we are not alone!  

We do have Jesus with us, after all!  And we do have his gospel and the Holy Spirit.

And as we listen to God through Jesus and the Spirit we will be moved along to place where we can be good news 

In this way the Church will move and rise with Jesus,

The Church on the move is the world on the move.

Heaven forbid the day we choose to stand still.

So this morning as the Angel tells us.

“go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’

We have been given this news of the risen Jesus to live and share with others as we move around from place to place.

Remember to pass on the good news as you go.

Praise be to God, Amen.