Broad Brook Congregational Church
April 20, 2014
“The Best Morning Ever!”
There is a commercial that really annoys me! Yet I am about to use it as an introduction to my sermon for this Easter Sunday. The commercial goes something like this:
A young boy sits at the breakfast table Head in hand
and he whines: “worst morning ever.”
We are never told why this is such a terrible morning for him. Presumably there is nothing good to eat for breakfast, because next we see another young boy dressed in lederhosen and projecting his speech with a heavy Nordic accent.
He says: “Toaster strudel, Warm, flaky, gooey, Toaster strudel.”
This brings our first young man to life. He lifts his head and smiles broadly
He says; “Best morning ever!”
It is not what is being advertised that led me to use this commercial. It is what our dejected young man says.
Lets imagine back to the burial of Jesus. There is no disputing the fact Jesus is dead-
His side pierced to be sure. Joseph of Arimathea, a secret disciple of Jesus,And Nicodemus, who had come to Jesus in the night, took his body and laid him in a new tomb in the garden near where the crucifixion had taken place. Ahh! The garden.
Imagine now the first Easter morning. It is the wee hours of the morning light is just beginning to break into the darkness Mary of Magdala is alone as she returns to the tomb.
For Mary this is the WORST MORNING EVER. Anyone who has lost a loved one, knows that feeling grief that tears the heart apart emptiness that cannot be filled.
Shock. Why did this happen? These are just some of the feelings overwhelming Mary Magdalene. It is her worst morning ever.
She approaches the tomb and is not prepared for what she sees. She expected to sit in solitude with her grief to be as near as she could to Jesus. She sees that the stone has been rolled away from the entrance of the tomb. She is shocked, suddenly very afraid, confused, even angry that someone has taken the body. Her first instinct is to run, to tell Peter and the un-named disciple what has happened. The path is un-even in the darkness she stumbles over the rocks as she runs. She is breathless as she arrives at her destination.
She tells the two disciples what she saw. They race to the tomb. The disciple whom Jesus loved out runs Peter. He peeks into the tomb Enough to see the linen clothes lying there But does not go in. It is Peter who enters the tomb first The linen clothes lay in a pile The cloth that had covered Jesus’ head Was neatly rolled up and lying in a place by itself. Then the other disciple went into the tomb he saw and believed.
It is the disciples worst nightmare. The body is gone. Where is the body? Who took it?
They still do not comprehend the resurrection. They return to their homes. The disciples’ worst morning ever.
Mary is alone once again; she stands just outside of the tomb. She is weeping uncontrollably. She finally decides to look in the tomb. Fear consumes her as she views . Two angels dressed in dazzling white Sitting at the head and foot of where Jesus had been lying. Why are you weeping? they ask Mary.
They have taken away the body of my Lord, And I do not know where they have laid him she replies. She turns to leave and sees Jesus Why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for? Jesus asks.
In her despair, confusion, and fear she does not recognize him; It is the gardener she thinks she sees.
Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, And I will take him away. Jesus calls to her, “Mary!” It is then that recognition sets in This is Jesus
Mary says: Rabbouni (teacher)
Jesus says: Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and say: I am ascending to my Father and your Father,
to my God and to your God.
Mary understands that Jesus is not rebuking her when he asks her not to hold him back. It certainly is something she would like to do to keep him with her and the other disciples. But she knows the importance of not interrupting the events of the hour. Jesus commissions her to go and tell the others She is the first witness to the resurrection and the ascension.
Mary Magdalene goes and announces to the disciples “I have seen the Lord!” She tells them everything that she had seen and heard from Jesus. Mary’s grief has turned to joy! Jesus lives! This is Mary Magdalene’s BEST MORNING EVER.
One of my children, when they were small and attempting to describe something wonderful, used to say “That was the Bestest.” Well, that first Easter morning was God’s BESTEST MORNING EVER. God had done a wondrous thing, something that both the first Easter people and us have difficulty grasping.
In the resurrection, God gave us a miracle of such love and forgiveness that it goes beyond anything we could have possibly imagined. God said yes to Jesus and no to the powers that killed him. In the resurrection, death has no hold and we have been forgiven And reconciled to God.
Easter is our BEST MORNING EVER!
CHRIST IS RISEN. CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED!
In the greatest of hope, I wish you all a blessed and joyous Easter.