“Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.”

How does that old saying go?  Life can turn on a dime…And it appears that for Mary Magdalene that is exactly what has happened this morning.  Just a few days ago on that horrible Friday morning, her teacher and friend, after being tortured and questioned all night, was led to the place of the skull and crucified as a criminal of the state.  Being a woman, she had no power to help him; all she could do was watch as all of the dreams of his closest companions died with him. All the women could do was try to comfort each other and  prepare his body for burial.  And now it was morning, and as she goes to the tomb to grieve, she discovers it empty.  She cannot begin to comprehend the truth of what has happened, and instead she thinks that the body of Jesus has been taken away.  Mary is so blinded by her grief  that when Jesus first addresses her, she cannot see him for who he is.  Who could blame her?  She saw what they did to him.  He was dead, and people don’t just rise from the dead.  But when Jesus says her name as he no doubt has many times before, she recognizes him.  In saying her name he has brought forth into the present all of the love and care he has had for her, and she recognizes him.  I guess some days people DO rise from the dead.

That, beloved is what we celebrate today, the most amazing miracle of all, that Jesus Christ has risen just as he said he would, and that is very good news indeed.  In raising Jesus from the dead, the Father has given us the greatest gift of his covenant with us. Because Jesus has been raised from the dead, you and I can rest in the knowledge that we too will be raised.  In Jesus, God and humanity have come together to conquer sin and death once and for all.  God’s kingdom has become real in Jesus and you and I get to continue the work of the kingdom while we are here on earth.  Eternal life with God is an indescribable promise that will be fulfilled, and I know that we will see and be with those whom we love who have gone before us.  And that is good news.  

The Resurrection of Jesus has consequences for us on this side of death as well.  It means that you and I can never be outside of God’s love.  We do not have to live in fear of being separated from God, or living without God’s love and care.  The Resurrection of Jesus means that there is nowhere that you and I can go where God hasn’t been,,, including the darkness of death.  Jesus will be with us even in those darkest of places.

For us who are his disciples, his life, death, and resurrection also affect us here.  As we gather around this altar to receive the body and blood of Christ, we are given what a dear mentor of mine used to call a “sip and a taste” of the heavenly banquet.  In the celebration of communion, we are brought into the space occupied by angels and arch angels and we join our voices with them and with all the saints to sing and praise our God, and to have our spirits fed by his body and blood.  Each time we come to the altar we are being prepared for the life to come; and each time we take him into ourselves we are changed; changed by the gift of never ending love of God in Christ which will allow us tp continue his work so that the kingdom of God may be on earth as it is in heaven.  

The world is new.  The kingdom of God has come near.  Jesus has been raised from the dead and hope has been realized.  He is our God and we are his people.  Today sin and death are no more.  May each of us live into the fullness of joy of God’s love so that justice and peace will prevail.  May we join our voices with all the company of heaven as we say, Alleluia, Christ is Risen!  The Lord is Risen indeed, Alleluia!