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Let our Come and See be Go and tell

Wednesday in Easter Week. 2023 Jeremiah 31: 1-6 The Easter Anthem Matthew 28:1-10


The annual Easter proclamation is like a well-known old song which, when we hear it again after some time, we appreciate it in a new light. At the door of the tomb, the realm of death, the women hear an affirmation of life. “ He is not here but he has been raised”. The women who had followed Jesus from Galilee to the cross come to perform burial rites in love and devotion. We can imagine them walking almost in silence, lost in their individual thoughts and grief. They stop occasionally to put down their baskets of spices and wipe the tears from their eyes. Suddenly the ground is shaking under their feet like an earthquake. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were wondering how they could move the stone when they look up and see the guards falling and the stone being rolled away by an angel who then sat on it. The two of them were witnesses to this. This means that the two of them make up the number of required legal witnesses, so from the beginning there could be no argument that Jesus was not risen from the dead.

The stone was not rolled away so Jesus could get out, but so others could get in and see that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead just as he had promised.


Our reading from Matthew this morning reminds us of the central role played by women during the time of Jesus’ ministry. Women were present with Jesus during his life, during the dark moments of crucifixion and death and in the first moments of new life after the resurrection. Matthew tells the story of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary {probably Jesus’ Aunt} being the first to remember Jesus’ predictions of death and resurrection. They were the first to worship the risen Jesus and the first to be commissioned by him.


Way back in the time of the prophet Jeremiah and even before this, preparations were being made by God for a future of restoration. God’s promise is to all of the people of Israel and Judah and the restoration will include all people who trust God...


God reaches toward his people since ancient time and now, with kindness motivated by deep and everlasting love. After many words of warning about sin, Jeremiah’s reminder of God’s magnificent love is a breath of fresh air. This means that rather than thinking of God with dread, can we look carefully and see God lovingly drawing us toward himself.


The message of the resurrection, familiar as an old song, but for ever new, is that Christ is not “here” inhabiting the realm of the dead, but has emptied death of its power.


Our world today has changed, it is not as God designed it to be, but Christ’s death and resurrection provides us with the possibility for a new beginning. God’s purpose in Christ is for the restoration of divinely ordered harmony in a world suffering from the effects of human sin. Leaders of nations and political parties have a moral responsibility, as do we who place them in power, and no amount of misinformation and political spin can hide their unrighteousness from God. The light of Christ offers us the possibility of a new beginning and our world can be a new creation if we heed the message. The women were invited to “Come and see the place where he lay” and when they encountered Jesus he told them to “ Go and tell his brothers.” The Gospel must always lead us from “Come and see” to “ Go and tell” . We cannot have one side of the Gospel message without the other. If our “Come and see” does not leave us unafraid to “Go and tell” we are not obedient followers.


Amen.

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