Eyes of Easter Faith

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preached by Pastor Mike

Resurrection of Our Lord                                                                                                              April 2010

(Isaiah 65:17-25  Psalm 118  Acts 10:34-43   John 20:1-18)

(Puts sunglasses on)  Hmmmm, these don’t help me see any better!

(Puts on pair of glasses)  These help a little!

(Takes binoculars and looks through them) Wow!  I can really see better now!  I can see all of you a whole lot better!

In our lives we spend lots of money each year on our eyes, trying to help us see better.

Lasik surgery has been a miracle cure for many people.  Contact lenses are also most helpful. 

Telescopes help us see millions of miles out into space.  Nighttime laser-glasses are great in the dark.

So that’s where our Easter story begins:  with Mary Magdalene in the dark, trying to see more clearly.

First, Mary Magdalene sees that the stone has been removed from the tomb.  Then Peter and John come running in and they both see the linen wrappings lying there.  Then John looks again from inside the tomb and he sees more clearly.  But then both of these disciples turn around and run home.  I guess they really did not see very clearly!

But Mary Magdalene doesn’t run home.  She stays right there at the tomb, crying.   In the midst of all the other things going on there at the tomb—the comings and goings of the disciples and the angels—Mary stands there…weeping.

But Mary isn’t just standing.  She’s standing with a purpose.  That’s what the Greek word means: Standing for something. 

That’s what Mary is doing, and her purpose is to find Jesus, to see him.    So she deliberately places herself as close to Jesus as she knew how to do, to where she thinks he is. 

And then she has this amazing conversation (she thinks with a gardener), and she asks where he has taken Jesus.   (She’s still not seeing clearly with the eyes of faith)….until she hears her name.  And then she turns!  Then she sees!  Then Mary recognizes the Risen Lord!!!!! 

Remember in the movie Avatar, that sci-fi movie of a few months ago.  Remember what Jake, the wheelchair-bound, paraplegic, former marine, says to the tall, blue-skinned, native woman, Neytiri.  Remember how he greets her?  Whenever they get together, the first thing he says is, “I see you!”  Every time they see each other this greeting means so much more than just seeing. 

There’s a connection beyond seeing only with the eyes.  “I see you” communicates a deep respect for the whole other being.  Jake learns to truly see into the very depth of her being.  Something like that happened there in the garden when Mary finally saw Jesus as the Risen Christ!

When Jesus says Mary’s name, Mary recognizes the Risen Jesus in a completely different way, as the one who has been raised.   Mary sees Jesus with a clarity that touches deep into her entire being.   She sees with an Easter faith.

I simply love how the Easter story happens for Mary.  There are no lightning bolts, no earthquakes, no rending of the temple cloths.

It is calm…and gentle…and loving.  Maybe that’s how faith happens for most of us—standing with a purpose, even in the darkness of our lives, sometimes weeping, but with the purpose of wanting to be close to Jesus, and seeing him, experiencing him in a way that permeates our entire being. 

This seeing with the eyes of faith was an opening of Mary’s  vulnerable heart to something she did not expect.  In the presence of the Risen Jesus she found the peace and healing she needed.

That’s our story today!!!!!

Just like Mary, none of us has a guarantee on the events of our future.  We do not know what tomorrow holds.  We are all in the dark.  We are all weeping certain parts of our lives.  For all of us, the future is always an opportunity as well as a threat.

But that doesn’t mean we face the future without hope.

To see with the eyes of Easter faith is to face the future as did Mary.

To see with the eyes of Easter faith is to take a stand as close to Jesus as we are able, to where we believe Jesus to be, even if we cannot see clearly enough to be sure.

To see with the eyes of Easter faith is to stand firm in the Easter story each and every day, to stand on the promise of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!

To see with the eyes of Easter faith is to live in that proclamation and promise, allowing our hearts to be vulnerable and open to where we are already going and where we might wish to go. 

But don’t be fooled, to see with the eyes of Easter faith does not guarantee that things will go the way we wish; in fact,

To see with the eyes of Easter faith almost certainly guarantees that things will not go the way we expect.  They will go God’s way!

 To see with the eyes of Easter faith opens us to healing and peace and justice in ways we could never expect.

So…..today, on this celebration of Easter…..may we go forward in confidence and hope, in solidarity with Mary who took a stand at an empty tomb, confident that Jesus was close.  Let us weep, and let us wait, and let us work within the Easter story and the promise of God’s life-giving love. 

Finally, on this day when we celebrate the Risen Lord, let us go in solidarity with each other, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable enough to have our vision made clearer. 

To see with the eyes of Easter faith is to believe that the Easter Alleluia is true!  Christ is Risen!  Christ is Risen, indeed!  Amen.

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