Strength In Solitude
Rev. Tony Aboagye
Part 1 (video)
04/12/20 (EASTER SUNDAY)
There Is Power
Interim Pastor Linda Bergeon
There is Power
He is Risen! He is Risen!
Today’s passage is found in Mt. 28.1-10. I am reading from the New Revised Standard Version.
1 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.
5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.”
8 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
I chose to read Matthew’s report on the resurrection because, call me crazy, the idea of an earthquake as a result of an angel coming to earth and moving the stone caught my attention.
I have read this passage many times and yet this is the first time these words popped out at me. “And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.” Hmm, I wonder if living in CA had anything to do with it?
This passage is only found in Matthew. None of the other gospel writers mention how the stone was rolled away, only that it was. Reports of the resurrection are found in all four gospels which highlights how important this event was.
Each report varies a bit and I could talk today about how they differ. I could dig into how many angels there were – 1, 2 or none. or were those brightly shining young men dressed in white really angels?
I could wax poetic about which women were at the tomb that morning, whether Mary Magdalene was alone or with an untold number of other women.
I could examine why three Gospels say the women went and told the disciples while one says they were afraid and didn’t tell anyone.
I could talk about why Mark has three endings and what that may mean or I could delve into the interesting fact that Jesus’ story starts and ends with women. Think about that for a minute – he was born of woman and who was first at the tomb? Women.
I could unpack how the social order of the day made it possible for people to believe rough and smelly shepherds when they said they had seen a chorus of angles but wouldn’t believe the women when they shared the message the angels had given them.
There are many aspects of these reports that I could talk about but there is only one that matters. He is Risen! He is risen indeed!
These resurrection stories prove that God keeps his promises. Centuries before the resurrection God promised Abraham that his family would be the means for redeeming all other families. A promise that began to be fulfilled when his son, Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons, became the ancestors of the twelve tribes of Israel and heirs of the Abrahamic covenant, which found its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ.
These resurrection stories prove that despite humanities repeated rebellion and rejection of God, God never gives up on us. Our sinfulness has never and will never deter God, our weaknesses never have and never will discourage God. God continues to shower love and grace on us no matter what.
The resurrection stories reveal the power of God through Jesus Christ. Jesus finished the work God gave him, he conquered sin and death on the cross. Through Jesus we can commit ourselves into the mighty hands of a faithful God and walk in confidence and freedom. He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!
Through Jesus we have the power to overcome fear and anxiety. No matter how bleak our circumstances, we have power in the name of Jesus. I was blessed this past Friday to attend a Zoom Good Friday service where a soloist sang “There is Power in the Name of Jesus.”
Listen to these words, and yes, I’m saying them not singing them (it’s okay to say praise the Lord). No fear, no lie can stand against us now He is here, The Word has come to silence every doubt. He is here. There is power in the name of Jesus There is power, power in His name.
One name, one name can save. One name, one name breaks every chain. One name, always one name, Jesus. One name, one name remains. One name, we will proclaim! One name, always. There is power in the name of Jesus There is power, power in His name. Can I hear an amen? Amen!
There is no winter so cold he cannot bring spring from it.
There is no night so dark he cannot bring light to it.
There is no desert so dry that he cannot bring a flower to bloom in it.
One name can save, one name breaks every chain…there is power in the name of Jesus. There is power, power in His name.
There is no disease that can overcome him.
There is no social chaos that can conquer him.
There is no incompetent response or misinformation that can defeat him.
There is no one and nothing that can now or ever triumph over him.
One name that saves, one name that breaks every chain, one name that will always remain. He is Risen! He is risen indeed.
Brothers and sisters, we live in a difficult time. A time of uncertainty, of a certain amount of chaos. A time when we are feeling cut off in many ways from all that brings us comfort. And yet and yet here we are celebrating the resurrection and I want to share with you that this has been a really special holy time for me.
As we started the journey into holy week I started thinking about Jesus and the thoughts he must have been having as he put one foot in front of the other on his way to Jerusalem. I thought about what he had been feeling and thinking. What was going through his mind? Was he in his humanness like us? Frightened, anxious wonder what would happen next? We know, we know that he poured out his anxiety and fear at least one time to his father God. In the garden of Gethsemane, it is reported that he poured it all out to God.
And so, sisters and brothers it is okay if we pour out our fears and anxieties to God. God is there, God will listen. Jesus opened the way for us to have this one to one ability to commune with God. And as we moved into holy Thursday and on into good Friday I wondered, where did Jesus find his strength? How did he keep going?
Because, remember he was fully human and fully divine.
So he must have had some source that filled him up and I think we find the answer to that question of where did his power come from in Gethsemane. It came from his acceptance of God’s will for his life. At the end of his prayer time in Gethsemane he said “your will be done” “your will” and from that moment on he had the strength to continue the journey that took him to Jerusalem and the cross.
Then there was Saturday, sometimes called silent Saturday, because it is a time of waiting and as I journeyed through Saturday, I kept thinking, I wonder how the disciples felt. Imagine, they were behind locked doors. Sounds familiar right? They were anxious, they were afraid, they were waiting they didn’t even know for what.
They were waiting with no knowledge whatsoever of what was to come. You know what? As I thought about them and their waiting, I realized how different it was from our waiting, from our Silent Saturday because we know the end of the story. The end of this story is He is Risen! We don’t have to wait in fear and anxiety because we know He is Risen. Can I hear an amen?
Yes, this is a crazy time, it is a chaotic time, it is a confusing time and yet if we keep our eyes focused on the bigger picture, the picture of redemption and forgiveness of sin, we can walk through these days in faith and confidence without fear. Because when we keep our eyes on Jesus his peace will fill our hearts and we will know that we know that we know we are forgiven and saved. Amen.
On The Road to Emmaus
Rev. Khan Lolly
luke 24: 13-35
On the Road to Emmaus
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happ ened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?”he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.