Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sunday - Discover Life, Again

What a JOY to baptize Micah Frisch (10), Isaac Kiptum (3), Jennifer Frisch (39), Ruby Gene Topple (4) this Easter Sunday.  Ruby said afterwards, "I got bapbitized!"

'My good people, I have here in my hands three Easter sermons, and in light of the baptisms and communion and who knows what else, you decide which I preach...... The $100 sermon will last five minutes The $50 sermon will last fifteen minutes The $20 sermon will last a full hour. Now, we'll take up the offering, tally up the individual amounts given, and the majority amounts will determine which one I'll deliver.'

Zia --17 months old now--wakes up with a smile on her face every morning... well not quite every morning, her mother corrected me. Most every morning Zia wakes up with a smile! Her sister Ruby used to wake up with a smile on her face every morning, but now at four, she's old, and worn and wise, she knows the day may not greet her as she greets it, so she sometimes wakes up with a smile, and sometimes she wakes up and pulls the covers over her head and moans... But Zia wakes up in the morning with a smile on her face.... It's almost like, she's programmed to do so.

She has reasons already at her young age to not smile: She had major surgery when she was 8 weeks old. She’s been poked at, prodded, and stuck, by doctors and specialists like she were a cow. She’s fallen down, been wacked in the head by our dog’s tale, been knocked over by her big sister, had things taken from her, had to ride in car seat for hours... She has to put up with her goofy dad. But, every morning, smiling like the sun!

Don’t you love it!? Who couldn’t like that?! Do you wish you could do it too?
Maybe some of you do, oh, don’t you happy people just make the rest a little sick to our stomach...
Ok, rest of us...what'taya say: wanna give it a shot? Wake up every morning with a smile. Impossible you say? Why? You and I, all of us, we’re here this morning celebrating the most impossible unrealistic story of a man God raised from the dead... and we act like we believe it, some days anyway. So why can’t we wake up every morning with a smile? Giving thanks to God for a new day before we get out of bed and stub our toe. ? Isn’t that what resurrection hope is all about? Easier said than done right?

-How do we wake up with resurrection hope when our job is ahh, and we’re loaded in debt?
-How do we wake up with resurrection hope when our child or grandchild is hooked on drugs and slipping away?
-How do we wake up with resurrection hope when the one we’d been waking up with for years is no longer there?
-How do we wake up with resurrection hope when there is so much injustice all around us? Does anything seem to make a difference anymore?
Wake up smiling?
Life’s hard: Sometimes misery can only be responded to by being miserable. But is that the way we want to live? Is that the way we’re called to live? It’s been said: “The world is like a mirror; frown at it, and it frowns at you. Smile and it smiles, too” (― Herbert Samuels) Mary Magdalene, God bless her, went to the tomb early that easter morning. “Good morning,” someone said on her way to the tomb. “What’s good about it?!,” she responds gruffly.
Her day got worse.
When she got to the tomb, she saw a crime scene--a body snatching. - the last of Jesus would be gone forever. When she tells Peter and the other disciple, it didn’t really help matters: They run to find out what happened..find some cloths in the tomb, and take off. Way to comfort the crying woman there fellas. Mary’s left alone, lost, confused. She sees a couple of angels: Why are you weeping? they ask.... “Don’t you get it? They’ve taken away my joy! She sees Jesus, the gardener. (Any of you find that when you are gardening people mistake you for Jesus? It happens to me all the time!) The Gardener/Jesus asks the same question: “Why are you weeping?” Why are you weeping?
Why are you weeping?
You know why, and you have every good reason to weep... But this story.
In this resurrection story! Joy had called her by name. Peace had returned to her. Love was back. She could smile again! She discovered life, again. Okay, here’s what I have in mind: During Lent, many people take on a discipline, try to create a new habit over the course of 40 days. Here, I’m saying, let’s create a new habit for the next 50 days till Pentecost, we’re reprogramming ourselves re- discovering within that which was already there from the beginning-- you don’t remember not smiling every morning when you were a year old, do you? Even you grouchies, and you know who you are--you turned two and everything was terrible ever since!
That joy is in there, somewhere. God has called each of us by name, in our baptisms. As we come to the table for communion. As we serve in the world. And You and I can claim LIFE, because we want to cling to the hope that God is among us, raising us up day after day to bring love and hope into this world. We are witnesses to the resurrection; this is our calling, and this is our true selves!

Let’s celebrate for 50 days! Let’s rejoice till Pentecost, that God is active and alive in our lives. God is active and alive in this world. Amen! Amen! This is a time to live with Resurrection hope!

Winston Churchill said: "Never give up, never give up, never, never, never give up."

Jesus said, I am the Resurrection and the Life; even though you experience death, you will live!
Even though misery happens, live! Every morning can be Easter morning; a day to wake up ..smiling. Rejoicing. Celebrating. Why not? Tell jokes: Laugh. Hug. Encourage. appreciate the life you have while you have it. And Let’s watch the world be transformed before our very eyes. as we recognize and are recognized by the risen Christ right in our midst. Discover life, again.

Let’s pray: Gracious and loving God, we thank you for another glorious Easter morning. We arrive here from many varied places, some of us from a place of rejoicing, many of us from a place of difficulty, and we’re doing all we can to hold it together. Wherever we are this morning, I ask that you reveal yourself to us once again. In baptism. In communion. In a hug; in a smile: Call our name, and so that we may discover the joy of life in you, again. 

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