Holding On

April 12, 2020

Church of the Servant, Wilmington, NC

Easter Sunday – Year A
Matthew 28:1-10


April 15, 2017

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA
Great Easter Vigil
Romans 6:3-11; Matthew 28:1-10


Yes, it’s great to be with you on this night of the Great Easter Vigil yet my salutation of “Greetings!” is more than just a word of welcome. I’m following the example of Jesus. In Matthew’s telling, this is the first word shared by the resurrected Christ. When I realized this, it surprised me!

It’s John’s resurrection story that usually comes to mind. In it Jesus speaks with compassion to Mary Magdalene as she weeps outside the empty tomb. She mistakes him for a gardener when he gently asks, “‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?” Then, calling her by name, “Mary!” she recognized him.

In Luke’s version, Jesus’ first words are shared with two unnamed disciples on the road to Emmaus. They’re discussing the recent events of Jesus arrest and death, and an unrecognized Jesus asks, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?road2emmausAfter they tell him, he proceeds to explain how obvious it is that all these things were necessary to fulfill what Moses and the prophets said about the Messiah. Even so, they still didn’t recognize him, that is, until he broke bread with them at dinner. This shared act caused their eyes to be opened to the risen Christ.

Mark’s gospel gives no words to Jesus at all. An angel at the empty tomb instructs the women to tell the others that Jesus has risen and that he’ll meet them in Galilee. But we’re told that these who were to share the good news went silent. It says: “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.”

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