Do you think it’s strange that when Jesus says, “Peace be with you”, there’s part of me that wants to say, “yeah, right.” There’s that hymn that says something like, “the peace of Christ, it is no peace”. That, I think, is how it feels, most of the time. You and I are modern day disciples. Like those that followed Jesus in the flesh, we have a responsibility to keep the faith alive. It is because of their witness that we are gathered here right now. They had the physical experience of being with Jesus after his resurrection; they spoke to him, they touched him, they watched him eat. He was with them physically, not just spiritually. Last week, I spoke about how the physical resurrection of Jesus matters. Do you think if his resurrection wasn’t very real and physical that the story of Jesus would still be with us? I honestly don’t think so. Maybe it’s because I’m such a concrete, rubber to the road kind of thinker, but knowing that there were people who actually saw and touched Jesus after he was raised speaks to my heart at a deep level. Some might say, “so what? Why does it matter”? Well, it matters profoundly, or at least it should, because we live in a very physical world. The resurrection of Jesus certainly makes certain things clear in terms of what will happen to us in the afterlife; and those are extremely important questions, after all, we’re talking about eternity here. But, I also think that as disciples, as Easter people charged with proclaiming repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name to all nations, that the resurrection of Jesus has things to say to us here and now on this earth. Redemption, is defined by our catechism as “ the act of God which sets us free from the power of evil, sin, and death.” Often, I think, we can see that as a “get out of jail” free card; that we believe we can live our lives as a great free for all, and that Jesus will erase it all on the last day, and we will happily be issued our wings and harps and live in eternal bliss. I would argue that the resurrection of Jesus sets us free from the power of evil and sin NOW while we are walking around on this earth doing whatever it is we do. I would also say that because of that, we have a responsibility to continue his work of forming the kingdom of God here on Earth. And, beloved, I’m not sure we are doing our job very well. Reading the news this week has been a heartbreaking venture. The killing of an unarmed black man, Daunte Wright by police, Adam Toledo, a Hispanic 13 year old child in Chicago, killed by police, the mass shooting in Indianapolis that killed 8 people perpetrated by a 19 year old… according to one news outlet, there have been at least 45 mass shootings this year; mass shootings are defined as four or more people killed or injured in one incident. Since 2015 there have been over 135 unarmed black men and women killed by police; most of the officers involved in the shootings were white. And, that doesn’t account for the shootings of unarmed people of color who have been shot or bothered by white people just for walking. I watched a video this week of a member of our military shoving an unarmed black teen just for walking in the neighborhood. Both issues, mass shootings, and the killing of unarmed people of color, some of which have happened in their own homes, are problems that you and I need to work on. And, I am not talking about gun control measures; I think for both of these issues, the problem is much deeper than our ability to legislate it. Beloved, our society is suffering; there are sins that are affecting us as a society, a list that is too long to even contemplate, but racism is certainly among them. People are also suffering from things like poverty, extreme loneliness, poisoning of their very souls by rhetoric that has no place in our country or in our neighborhoods. These are issues that aren’t “out there somewhere”. They are issues that affect children who attend this church; they are issues that affect all of us. You and I are disciples of Christ, and if the bodily, physical resurrection of Jesus doesn’t compel us to help make a better society, we aren’t doing the disciple thing right. Everything that you and I do, every word we speak, must be rooted in our responsibility as disciples. God’s life in Jesus was and is real. We pray, probably most days, for the kingdom of God to come on earth as it is in heaven. What are you and I doing to make that happen? Each of us must look deep within us and see if our attitudes are contributing to the societal sin around us, some of which is deeply embedded in who we are, especially if we are white. We also have to look deep within ourselves to see how we are contributing to the desperation that causes young people to kill themselves and others; why, with all of our technological advances are we even more alone than we have ever been? What kinds of economic and social pressures are people under that are causing them to snap? How many times have we turned a blind eye to what’s happening, making excuses for someone’s behavior because they look like us? Let me be clear; unarmed people should not be killed by police or anyone else… period. We all, myself included, talk a really good game about thoughts and prayers when tragic things happen. And, I think we mean it. However, if our thoughts and prayers aren’t moving us toward action, we aren’t praying or thinking hard enough. Beloved, the work of discipleship is hard; in our baptism we have died to the world so that we could be alive in Jesus… not just in the afterlife, but now, today. If we are Easter people who proclaim that we believe in God the Son who was raised from the dead, that has HUGE implications for us. Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension brings ALL of humanity into God’s life and presence. Jesus died for all of us; Jesus loves all of us… ALL OF US, all people everywhere… and so you and I are also to love all people everywhere; we are to work tirelessly for the poor and the oppressed; we are to reach out our hands to our young people and let them know that they are not alone; we are to work to rid our hearts and our souls of the centuries of misinformation that defines personhood by skin color. We are all responsible to bring the kingdom of God to earth for all people everywhere. Today, as we profess our faith in the ancient creed of the church and confess our sins…. I hope that all of us can think about what those words mean and what sins we all have to ask forgiveness for that are hurting others. Then, let us get fed at Jesus’ table, and resolve to do what needs to be done. It won’t be easy. If it feels easy, we aren’t doing it right. That’s what discipleship means. That’s what being a follower of Jesus means. It’s what Jesus means when he says, Peace be with you…He died for all of us. Let’s get to work for him and for all of his people. Alleluia, Christ is Risen.