Chip Stapleton Highland Presbyterian Church April 13th, 2020 Hunkered Down Devotions
Mark 16:1-2;5-7 (VOICE)
1-2 At the rising of the sun, after the Sabbath on the first day of the week, the two Marys and Salome brought sweet-smelling spices they had purchased to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus.
5 Stepping through the opening, they were startled to see a young man in a white robe seated inside and to the right.
Man in White: 6 Don’t be afraid. You came seeking Jesus of Nazareth, the One who was crucified. He is gone. He has risen. See the place where His body was laid. 7 Go back, and tell Peter and His disciples that He goes before you into Galilee, just as He said. You will see Him there when you arrive.
Today, we wake up in a post-Easter world, but especially in the light of our current circumstances, it might not feel like anything has really changed.
I think the same was true on that first Easter as well. Literally everything in the world was different – the empty tomb is the turning point of history – and yet almost no one knew it.
Mary, Mary and Salome went looking for Jesus – still faithfully following him, even though they believed him gone. But they went looking for him in the wrong place.
Jesus was not then – and is not now among the dead, but among the living. Jesus is not found in the ashes and ruins of our past mistakes and missteps, but in the hope and promise of today and tomorrow.
There is hope and promise for today and tomorrow because of Jesus and because of the empty tomb. Because of the Easter and the empty tomb the Marys and Salome found, we are not defined by our past or even our present, we are not judged by our actions and mistakes – but rather we are judged by the love and grace of Jesus poured out for us.
The empty tomb is the proof of God’s redemptive power for our lives and over all of the world. Because of the empty tomb we can be assured we are never alone, and that most importantly, there is nothing – not even death – that can separate us from the from the saving love of God shown to us in Jesus Christ.
In difficult times – like the ones we are going through it is hard to believe and even harder to see that everything thing has changed. It is hard to see that love and light have won the day – but they have. They have and the evidence is all around us – if only we know where to look.
The picture attached to this devotion was taken of our church during Holy Week. It was taken by a complete stranger who happened to look in just the right place at just the right time to see a sign of hope and grace.
Of course – seeing the signs of hope for yourself is wonderful – but it is just as important, and it is our call as followers of Jesus – to share those signs with others. To point to them with our words, our actions and our very lives.
That is what the stranger, Maureen, that saw the rainbow above our church did. She saw the rainbow. She stopped her car and took a picture. And then, she got to work – she wrote down the name of our church, and when she got home, she looked us up, found my email and shared the picture.
Because of the empty tomb, every morning – every day – is Easter morning from now on. Look for the signs of hope and grace around you, and when you find them, make sure to share them with others.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the grace and love, forgiveness and salvation that we have because of Jesus and his victory over sin and death as shown to us in the empty tomb. Help us see the signs of your grace, hope, and love all around us, and give us the courage to share them with others. Amen.