The Imprint of Christ

April 26, 2015

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

The 3rd Sunday of Easter 
Acts 3:12-19; 1 John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36b-48

(Gospel text is provided at the bottom of this post)

How many of you like commercials?

If you watch TV, listen to the radio, read the paper or surf the web, you are constantly being bombarded by messages telling you about things you need, things you should want, and things you can’t live without. It’s not uncommon to see the same ad over and over again during the same one-hour program, right. This is very intentional by marketers. Communication experts say that you have to communicate your message at least 7 times for people to hear it, and probably dealing with some, it’s more like 70 times 7!

If we apply this to our church context, this concept of repetition is substantiated by our use of the Lectionary. Over a three year period we hear different combinations of Old and New Testament readings, including a significant portion of all four Gospels. Then, after three years, we start over again. So, if you’ve been in the Episcopal Church, or a denomination that follows the common lectionary, it would take 21 years to hear each of these texts 7 times – and that’s if you attend every single Sunday!

don__t_delay_50__s_action_bubble_by_hakarune-d461cacBut, don’t lose faith! The good news is that because of common themes, it can take much less than 21 years to get the gist of Jesus’ message– to have a sense of Jesus’ call for repentance, of God’s gift of forgiveness, the importance of servant-hood, and the command to love God and show compassion to all people. So, sign up today! Don’t delay! There’s still time!

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Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

The Great Vigil of Easter 
Romans 6:3-11; Mark 16:1-8

(Gospel text is provided at the bottom of this post)537442_10200233033101250_2091201868_n

In the course of this evening, we’ve moved from the darkness of night – holding the painful, confusing crucifixion of Jesus on the cross – to the bursting-in of light – rejoicing and celebrating the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ anew!

We’ve heard our ancient stories retold: beginning again in darkness, until God’s “Let there be Light!” spoke creation into existence. We traversed the Red Sea alongside the Israelites. By God’s grace, our hearts of stone were made new, and we witnessed God’s generosity and power as dry bones were transformed to a new and reformed life!

And now we’ve extinguished our candles and in the bright light of Christ, we hear more good news! The tomb is empty! The crucified Christ is no longer confined by the cold stone walls of death! Alleluia, Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!

In Mark’s gospel, we’re told that when Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome – these three women – approach the tomb, they see that the stone has been rolled away. When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in all white. He told them that Jesus had been raised and was not there. He instructed them to go and tell Peter and the other disciples that they will find Jesus in Galilee.

But what comes next isn’t your usual resurrection story… unlike the other gospel writers, Mark ends his gospel saying: “So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”

They said nothing to anyone.

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