Jesus has Risen? Prove It!

Grace and Peace to you

My sisters and brothers in Christ

Christ has Risen!

But where is the transformation of the world?

Where is the impact of the Resurrection felt within us?

Or do we just do,

Following the Holy Spirit

That Jesus promised us, left us, breathed upon us.

Amen

(pause)

 “Let everything that has breath

Praise the Lord”

That is the refrain

Repeated joyfully over and again

In everything we do

In how we shout Alleluia!

Jesus has Risen!

There is the Good News

Death,

Darkness

Emptiness

Abandonment

Is not our fate

Shouldn’t we be singing a new song?

“Can you feel a Brand New Day”(2x)

(pause)

That song is the crescendo of the Wiz,

The Wiz, you all know the Wiz right?

(pause)

Embedded in this much loved movie

Was a social commentary about the plight of an exiled people

And the conditions that they were involuntary thrust into

And assumed that they would live in

Dorothy, who is portrayed by Diana Ross and her companions

Are almost at the end of their journey

through the rough and rude backdrop of NYC

The witch has been defeated,

And in the wake of her demise

Those laborers in her sweat shop

Through the years of toil, their very self is unrecognizable

Suddenly,

Because the witch is dead

They emerge from their despondency

Renewed

Freed

Made whole!

Filling with Light and Life,

The entire place vibrates

“Can you feel a Brand New Day?”

(pause)

Did we feel the birthing of a Brand New Day

Easter Sunday morning?

And yet, I wonder

In the midst of the overflowing presence of fellow sisters and brothers in Christ and Faith

In this sacred space

I wonder was there someone in the midst of the celebration

And praise

That held back shouting with all of us,

Just as I can imagine someone standing against the wall

In that transformed sweat shop

That didn’t believe that they were freed

Just as someone who comes through our doors ever so often

And hears about the freedom through the Cross

Just as I am sure in those days after Jesus’s Resurrection

Those ancient sisters and brothers of Faith

Had doubts about whether life as they knew it,

Was now freer

(pause)

There had to be chaos

The rhythm of life continued

Greed,

Injustice

Confusion

Death

Was still part of the makeup of their existence

That the shadow of the Roman Empire

Still darkened their footsteps

(pause)

Days after Resurrection Sunday,

Here and now

There was still violence perpetrated upon one another

Momentous greed

Incredible amount of injustice

Massive confusion

About what the core of the Gospel

Is calling us to do

And

Doubt!

Because what was the point of Jesus dying

If nothing has changed for us as people of Faith

If nothing changed at all for Creation?

(pause)

How many times have we pleaded,

Lifting up our concerns in laments before God

Looking for transformation

In our lives

In the lives of those we love

Only to see our hopes

Our prayers

Seemingly dashed at our feet

As fragile, discarded pottery

No wonder we doubt!

“Jesus has Risen?

Prove it!”

Perhaps this is why we had 147 people here on Easter Sunday

And now only half of us remain

(pause)

Humanity wants to SEE

To TOUCH

To be ASSURED

That the investment

A RISK

That they are allowing their hearts to become entangled with

Is solid

Is on the level

Because things such as

Love

Mercy

Grace

Peace

Aren’t something we can physically grasp onto

Because we are far too familiar

With the disappointment

That life brings

And yet it has been so easy to blame Thomas

In our Gospel this morning

About his doubting

About his lack of faith?

Somewhere between Good Friday,

And the moment the Risen Christ stood before him

Thomas just up and lost all of his faith?

(pause)

Or was it the human reaction of sheer and utter disillusionment

Engulfed into sadness

Of seeing the One who came to heal

To teach

To envelop ALL of US

Into the folds of the Creator’s Love

To see His life

Taken.

(pause)

Was Thomas just a realist then?

“Well,

That didn’t turn out as I thought it would

He’s uh, dead

I was hoping for another miracle

But

Yeah…”

(pause)

Did Thomas disappear in a space of grief,

Drowning his sorrows

Drowning in his tears

Trying to blot out the pain

of the ugliness and violence he had witnessed

Of Jesus on the Cross?

I would gather that we too,

Faced with our prayers not answered

For restoration

For hope

For something

Especially when our loved ones are suffering

And rudely,

Death comes and snatches their hands from ours

Life comes and purposely trips us,

Watching and laughing as we crash headfirst into the earth

And the only way we can cope

Is

“Well, Thanks God

I asked you for healing,

I asked you for protection

I knocked, I begged, I shook heaven’s door!

And I got this

I got nothing

I should have figured this would happen”

(pause)

And when our community reaches out to comfort

To reassure

To point us in the direction of the hope because of the Cross

We scoff

“What resurrection hope?

Prove it!”

“Unless I see the nail marks

And put my hand into his side,

I will not believe.”

(pause)

And then the Risen Christ comes,

In the midst of Thomas’s questing

In the midst of the disciples fears

In the midst of our moment of feeling rejected by God

And we are faced with that indeed

Life changed

What was impossible, is possible

That the Creator God kept God’s promises

That Thomas saw God working through Jesus Christ

That we see the Resurrection Glory working here and now

And Jesus, because He lived life like us

Understands our doubts

Jesus does not scold Thomas as we think

The Risen Christ calls Thomas to open up his eyes

His spirit

His very being

His faith,

Calling Thomas to come and see and witness and experience

That death has been defeated

“Reach out your hand put it in my side

Do not doubt

But believe.”

Reach out and see

That with Christ’s dying and Rising

Life has changed

Reality has changed

This is the Good News this morning, beloved

And every day,

Every second

Keep that Good News before you,

Let it sink into your prayers

Your troubles

It is easy to give up,

To doubt

And that’s okay,

Because the Good News is,

Believe in God, Our Redeemer

Believe that through Christ’s death

There is grace, mercy,

Forgiveness

Believe in yourself,

Because the Creator God believes,

And loves,

YOU

Thanks Be to God.

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