Readings: Acts 10: 34-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; I Corinthians 15: 19-26; Luke 24: 1-12
Jesus, dining with the disciples for the last time before the Resurrection, noted that one would betray him, one of the twelve seated close by. And Jesus let it be.
Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane when the temple police arrived to arrest him. A disciple pulled out his sword and cut off the ear of a slave of the High Priest. Jesus told him to sheath his weapon and healed the man’s ear. The arrest proceeded.
Jesus hung on the cross. The crowd taunted him with “He saved others yet cannot save himself”. Jesus did not respond, he let it be.
So, he died. He was taken down from the cross. He was placed briefly in his mother Mary’s arms. Then he was placed in a newly hewn tomb, and a large stone was rolled across the entrance. Soldiers were posted.
Jesus, the Light of the World, the Love of God come to earth, was buried in a stone-cold tomb by the Roman and Herodian governments that were frightened by his goodness.
Jesus, the Light of the World, the Love of God come to earth, was buried in a stone-cold tomb by the religious establishment, that was jealous of his healing, of his preaching good news, of his goodness.
Jesus, the Light of the World, the Love of God come to earth, was buried in the stone-cold tomb by the crowd, chanting for the release of the criminal Barabbas.
The governments, the religious establishment, and the crowds conspired, burying in a stone-cold tomb the Light of the World, the Love of God come to earth.
In tough times when I am frustrated when I am tired when I am angry, and when I see no way forward, my “go-to” prayer is the Serenity Prayer written by Reinhold Niebuhr.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference.
In tough times I also go to the song, “Let it be” by the Beatles.
When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary comes to me Speaking words of wisdom Let it be….
Let it be, let it be Let it be, yeah, let it be Whisper words of wisdom Let it be.
The song fits well with the first petition of the Prayer of Serenity – “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…”.
Jesus was betrayed, arrested, crucified, died, and buried in a stone-cold tomb with a large stone rolled across the entrance. ? Let it be? Let it be?
And Almighty God said, “I will not; I will not let it be!”
The stone was rolled away. The Roman soldiers fled. The linen cloths were all neatly arranged, but empty.
Almighty God said, “I will not let it be!” Almighty God would not allow the Light of the World, the Love sent into the world, to remain in the stone-cold tomb. Almighty God said, “I will change this!”
And the Resurrected Jesus appeared to Mary of Magdala.
The Resurrected Jesus walked with the traveling disciples on the Emmaus Road.
The Resurrected Jesus spoke with Peter.
The Resurrected Jesus appeared, through the doors were locked, to the disciples gathered in the Upper Room.
Almighty God said, “I will roll away the stone; I will not let it be, I will change this”.
Like Jesus, the dead can be raised in partnership with Almighty God.
Like the Upper Room disciples, the fearful can be encouraged with the partnership with Almighty God.
Like the Emmaus Road walkers, the discouraged can be joyful with the partnership with Almighty God.
Like Peter, the deniers can be proclaimers with the partnership with Almighty God.
Even in tough, turbulent times, what is beyond our touch in partnership with Almighty God!
We, you and I, are included in the Resurrected Body of Jesus, the Christ. Perhaps the Serenity Prayer allows us to be too comfortable with the status quo, by saying, “It is what it is”.
Perhaps there is much more in our lives, in our world, that can change in partnership with the Light of the World, in partnership with the Love sent into the World, in partnership with Almighty God who rolled away the stone.
On that first Easter, the angel asked Mary of Magdala, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is not here.” He is Risen to spread the Light, to spread the Love. He is alive and continues to do ministry.
I think this day angels also inquire of us, why do you continue to look into the stone-cold tomb? The stone has been rolled away. The Risen Jesus is out and about sharing Light, sharing Love.
And that is where we, the People of the Risen Jesus are to be, partnering with Almighty God, sharing Light and Love.
I will close with Jesus seeing the crowds that followed him. He said to his first disciples—
…the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore, to the Lord of the Harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Matthew 9: 37b – 38
So, too, the Risen Jesus says to us —
The harvest is plentiful. It is all around us. Be out and about. Share Light and Love. Partner with the Risen Jesus. Amen