But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again." Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, the told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the Mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen clothes by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.
As a pastor, I spend a lot of time reading devotions and sermons written by others, for inspiration, and for my own spiritual development. Sometimes, when I find that someone else has said it better than I can, I choose to share those words. For this holy day, Easter, I am sharing the words from the Rev. Bill Cotton, a poem titled "The Easter Question."
The question is not: Do we understand the resurrection?
The question is, can we permit newness into our lives?
Something has happened in our world.
The old powers always
lock up the dangerous dreamers of new possibilities.
Easter is a power surge that defies the old,
it is a new healing power,
a new risk to be taken.
It offers newness
- leaping - dancing - praising -
It is the power beyond all controllers of power.
Resurrection faith challenges
greed, hate, and fears that would destroy us,
that turn people
who are different into enemies,
and abuse our neighbors.
The resurrection of Jesus is not just about a dead man coming back to life.
It is about this dead man coming back to life.
This people waking up.
This dead church/nation receiving power,
coming back to life.
In a word: There is a way forward!
Come and feel the power
to make human life possible in all the hopeless places.
Power is at work that we cannot understand or control.
Some love the old deathly ways,
"business as usual" ways.
Where are the failed places in your life, in your church, in our nation?
Easter faith is a special power breaking in.
Families' members can celebrate
The prodigal son can come home
Swords into plowshares
The old ways of greed, hate and fear that would destroy us
Churches can move past old arguments that condemn and despise;
We have been good at death making.
But there is an alternative!
We can be on the side of the newness that God has prepared for us:
"Christ is risen!" is more than a slogan -
It is "a happening!"
Newness is given to you and me
As a chance to be taken
In this so-called modern world
That boasts of outgrowing Church and its power
And now wonders what to believe,
Where to turn,
Who to believe.
One little word can save us:
Christ is risen indeed!
O Lord, whose wondrous birth means nothing unless we be born anew, whose death and sacrifice nothing unless we die unto sin, whose resurrection nothing if thou be risen alone; raise and exalt us, O Saviour, both now to the state of grace and hereafter to the state of glory; through Jesus Christ our Hope. Amen