Even as we join in the victorious Easter Cheer, “He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!,” we remember that it wasn’t all that many days ago when we followed in Jesus’ footsteps to the “Places of our Lord’s Passion.” We began with Him in the Upper Room where He celebrated the Passover with His disciples and explained to them that He, Himself, was the Passover Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. We followed Him outside the walls of Jerusalem, across the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives and into the Garden of Gethsemane where He willingly gave Himself into the hands of His Heavenly Father and into the evil hands of men who hated Him. From there we went with Him to the palace of the High Priest, to Herod’s Palace and then to the Judgment Hall of Pontius Pilate. Finally, we went with Him along the shameful path of the cross to Skull Hill where He lovingly laid down His earthly life so that you and I could gain eternal life!
This Easter weekend we come to the empty Tomb – a place of power, not passion! How often we might look at a grave and see only death, despair, sorrow and uncertainty? In Jesus’ empty tomb, however, death turns into life; despair into hope; sorrow into exceedingly great joy; and uncertainty into the sure confidence of eternal life in the loving presence of Him who gave Himself for us – Jesus!
We stand before the Empty Easter Tomb and find an emptiness that fills! This is a message for today; a message for now; a message for you! We live in a world of brokenness – a world of disrupted relationships (among dear friends; in marriage; between parents, children and siblings). We live in a world of emptiness – suffering from the dull ache of separation (across the miles or separated by death from loved ones).
In the Empty Easter Tomb we find an emptiness that fills. We find a peace that fills and restores our hearts, minds and souls! As the Apostle Paul reminds us… Christ is Risen. Our faith is not in vain. Our sins are forgiven. Because of our faith and the certain hope that it brings, we are to be envied above all others in the world. (1 Corinthians 15)
And now our Savior calls us, as ambassadors of reconciliation, to be living symbols of life and resurrection in a world of emptiness and brokenness. We see in the Easter Lily a beautiful symbol of the resurrection – its brightness, beautiful fragrance, and trumpet-like flower help us to recall the angel messengers who heralded His birth and who also announced His resurrection. But there is, perhaps, an even more appropriate flower to symbolize the resurrection. Its bright yellow face follows the sun. This flower is almost indestructible. It can move seemingly impossible obstacles. It is tenacious – even when pulled up by the roots – it exhibits a determination to grow and spread. It is pregnant with seeds, and once given the opportunity, it’s ready to spread everywhere. That flower is the dandelion!
May we – all of us – be tenacious Easter dandelions filled with the seed of the Gospel, ready to explode with the joy, hope, promise and peace which are ours through the empty tomb! He is risen and through faith in Jesus we also shall be raised with Him to new life!
“He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!” And it makes all the difference in the world!
See you in church THIS weekend!
Blessings in Christ,