Easter Sunday - Pauses for Lent

4/21/2019

UNDEFEATED
 
“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they could go and anoint Jesus’ dead body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb. They were saying to each other, "Who’s going to roll the stone away from the entrance for us?" When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away. (And it was a very large stone!) Going into the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right side; and they were startled. But he said to them, "Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised. He isn’t here. Look, here’s the place where they laid him.”
Mark 16:1-6 CEB
 
Easter, Resurrection Sunday today reminds me of many movies I’ve viewed over the years. Movies like the 1994 classic The Shawshank Redemption starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. I will always remember that wonderfully inspiring scene when Robbins and Freeman are talking in the yard of the prison about hope while they are in prison. And Robbins says to Freeman in the midst of seeming desperate and defeated situations the only response a person can give is, “...to is get busy living or get busy dying...” That’s Easter to me. That’s the Easter message to me on this Resurrection Sunday to us United Methodist. Hear again the words of the young man at the tomb, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised. He isn’t here. Look, here’s the place where they laid him.”
 
Easter is about the reality of death that doesn’t have the last word. And the ultimate defeat of death. We rise UNDEFEATED! Jesus is the first evidence to us that nothing stands between us and God’s goals for our lives both individually and corporately. The words of our author ring so true, “He is available to each of us in our struggles with the forces of evil. We too can experience, “little Easters” in the midst of those things that make us die each day...” When we experience disappointment, lose a love one, our money runs dry, a friend lets us down, we are given a pink slip or things just don’t go our way. Resurrection happens. And just like Jesus, we can rise again. So get up my friend. Wipe death from yours eyes. You are UNDEFEATED.
 
Bishop James E. Swanson, Resident Bishop of the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church


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