Easter at East Rochester: “I Have Seen the Lord!”

Easter, 20 April 2014
The Rev. Todd R. Goddard, pastor
East Rochester and West Walworth: Zion United Methodist Churches
(Homily for East Rochester UMC)

John 20:1-18
http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=264509286

 

Prayer.

This entire week has been a spiritual movement
for the curious 
and Christians paying close attention.
On Maundy Thursday
we heard about the events of the Upper Room,
the celebration of Holy Communion

 

and of Jesus washing his disciples feet.
In addition to the sacramental tradition 
that was deeply infused in our spiritual DNA
our Lord’s act of humble service
begs one to ask the question:

 

who will we serve?
Doing nothing is not an option. 
Jesus commands us to serve others
with this powerful example.
So, who will we serve?

On Good Friday
the long, drawn out Passion narrative

 

made us squirm in our seats. 
Our imagination alone
was sufficient to leave us with post-traumatic stress. 
If God was willing to send us his Son, Jesus,
who was willing to die for us,
are we not to ask the same question of ourselves?

 

Who would we die for? 
Of course we might die for a family member or a friend.
But would we die for a stranger?
Ten?
A hundred? 
A million?
Seven billion?
God loves us all 
to give it all.
So, who would we die for?

 

This is a day of resurrection!
A day of miraculous resurrection from the dead!
Our Gospel tells the story of God’s infinite love for us,
so much so
that we are not only cleansed of our sins
but, like Jesus winning victory over the grave,
so, too, have we been given victory over the grave,
the gift of eternal life!  
Like Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter, and the other disciple,
we, too, can proclaim with unmitigated excitement,
“I have seen the Lord!”
We’ve heard the story,
we know it to be true,
and we beg to ask the question,
just like the questions we asked Thursday and Friday,

 

who will we tell?
Who will we tell?

 

If we return home,
sit on our hands
and keep our mouths shut,
we’ve become a fake and a fraud,
for we have allowed Satan to slip into us
unnoticed and unaware. 

Followers of Jesus!

 

Stand up!
Speak out!
Shout it from the mountain tops!
Jesus Christ is Lord over life and death!
Jesus Christ has forgiven your sins
and released you from slavery to your former ways!
Jesus Christ has risen from the dead
and given you eternal life,
starting right now,
right here!

Who will you tell?

 

Tell the world!
for it longs to hear our Good News.
The world is fraught with sin and sadness,
writhing in suffering and pain,
tied in knots over broken relationships
and debilitated with a loss of confidence and faith.
Resurrection fixes it all!
Salvation is the only solution
even as we die trying to save the world. 
Goodness, we can’t even save ourselves. 
We must have a Savior,
and the Good News is that we’ve been given one.

 

Resurrection and salvation
is God’s ultimate gift of love to you and me;
indeed, to all the world.
God is depending on you and me
to be the channel of His love,
to share the Good News,
and to live as children of the resurrection.

Ask yourselves as you leave worship this Easter,
who will I tell?
Who will I tell that 

 

I have seen the Lord?
By our witness
the world will be flooded with God’s love.
May it be so. 
Amen.