”Near the Tomb”

John 20:1-18

Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Rev. Todd R. Goddard, pastor

East Rochester & West Walworth: Zion United Methodist Churches




Christ is risen!



This is such good news.

This is good news for both the rich and the poor,

The young and the old.

This is good news for us sinners

And this is good news for the Saints who have died in the Lord,

Having now gone on before us.


‘What makes this Easter any different from any previous Easter?’

I can’t help but asking.


First, some of our loved ones made this same acclamation

In previous years

And they have now received resurrection’s healing grace.

Just as Christ has risen and returned to the Father

So, too, have our loved ones

Who have died an earthly death.

They have now been resurrected with Christ into

The glory of eternal life with our God.

Broken relationships have been healed.

Sin and suffering has passed.

The pain of this world

Has been replace with eternal glory,

Joined around the throne,

All giving eternal praise to the Lord God, Almighty.


‘What makes this Easter any different from any previous Easter?’


Secondly, each of us are one year closer to our resurrection.

Today’s acclimation will be tomorrow’s glory.

This is not some morbid death wish.

This is our statement of faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Placing ourselves outside an empty tomb,

Giving witness to the love of God

Who gave His only Son

That all the world might be saved.

This is a humble reminder

That while each of us draw an earthly breath

There still remains

Much to be accomplished,

Starting right now.


There is work to be done, beloved members and friends.

There is work to be done to build God’s kingdom

Right here on earth, just as it is in heaven.

There are people who have not yet heard the Good News

Or receive the call to follow Jesus Christ as his disciple.

There are those living lives marginalized

By poverty, illness, disease, loneliness, violence, or oppression

- the same people Jesus reached out to and included in the kingdom –

We are called to serve to serve them,

To lift them up,

To bring relief and release to each and their circumstance.

There are those living in darkness

Who have never experienced the light of God’s love, mercy, or healing.

Then, there are those,

Even some among us,

Who are searching for meaning, direction, or simply a sign

That will lead us out of the ditch

Back to the path

That returns each of us home

To the God who created us.


‘What makes this Easter any different from any previous Easter?’


Lastly, the humility of the cross

Has been replaced by the glory of an empty tomb.

Your slate and mine have been washed clean.

The chains of our past have been broken.

We are remade with Christ

As whole people,

As God’s people.

This is a new day,

A new beginning,

A fresh start.

So let’s not waste this opportunity.

Let’s step forth with Christ from the empty tomb

Into the sunlight of God’s grace and love.

Let us taste and see

The glory of the risen Lord!